WHAT IS BREXIT?
According to an English dictionary, “Brexit” is a noun that means “the withdrawal of the United Kingdom from the European Union.” If you give a close look to this word – Brexit. it itself says “BREXIT – GREAT BRITAIN’S EXIT FROM EU”.
Now before heading to “why Brexit happened?” first we have to understand what is – European Union and The Great Britain.
In the second world war, there were two powers trying to set their respective ideologies in the world. Allied power and Axis power.
Key Allied power countries included – Great Britain, France, Soviet Union, United States, and many other countries joined later. Similarly, key Axis power countries included – Japan, the Kingdom of Italy, and Germany. later, countries like Hungary, Austria, Bulgaria, and a few others joined it. These countries fought a lot with each other. So, European Union was created after the end of the second world war, to end the centuries of warfare among European countries. It became a set of 28 countries.
Earlier it was only concerned with agricultural policies and eliminated custom barriers within these countries but now it acts as a complete country and the nations which come under it are like its states. Let’s understand it in detail.
List of European Union
Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Czechia, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, The Great Britain, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden
- Out of these 28 EU countries, 19 of them accepted “Euro” as their currency. Rest 9 countries chose to proceed with their respective currencies.
- There is one single market for all the EU nations. It allows them to produce and sell goods and services from anywhere within these 27 nations without paying any tax on the borders or dealing with any paperwork. It means that if you establish a company in Britain, the whole of European union will become your target customer.
- There are 22 countries in the European Union that have terminated passports and do not have any border restrictions. It usually follows common border policies. The total area covered by these 22 countries is termed as Schengen Area.
- The European Union has a “four freedom” policy in which capital, goods, services, and people move freely.
- All the EU countries have common trade policy, agriculture policy, and also social and environmental policies are common.
- There is even a common parliament for all European Union countries. People of these countries choose the members of this parliament. It has enough authority to set rules and regulations which would have to be followed by all the countries coming under it. Though these nations also have their respective parliaments in their own nations.
- Most of the time it is the choice of these nations if they want to follow the policies or accept the suggestion given by the parliament of the EU but some are mandatory to follow.
BENEFITS OF CREATING EU
- On the world map, all these EU nations work in unison on all the issues. that’s why it stands as a global power on the world map. In simple words, 27 nations against one. EU’s voice would be much louder in comparison.
- The European Union has promoted peace and security since its existence. Now unlike other times, all the European countries are more than civil with each other.
- It has also given the world’s largest single market combining many countries. It is based on the “four freedom” policy which states – freedom to live and work in any EU country, freedom to move your money, sell goods without border restrictions, and lastly freedom to provide services on the same basis.
- EU has brought with itself the regulations of high food and environmental standards. It keeps a close look at food quality standards and takes active participation in regulating environmental control.
- As the EU is responsible for 27 nations, it follows strict guidelines for human rights. EU insists on “equal treatment for all”, irrespective of their caste, nationality, color, gender, and culture, language, or group.
REASONS FOR BRITAIN’S EXIT
There are always two sides to a coin. European Union has many positive points. But there are many disadvantages also. Which resulted in Brexit – Great Britain’s exit from EU.
- Like European Union was a good idea but the euro was not. It affected the economy of the whole world and mainly the countries that adopted that currency in the 2008 European financial crisis.
- Countries that are the part of EU have to follow certain standardized regulations. Sometimes they become a hurdle in running a country freely.
But the major issues which led to the Britain’s exit were financial crisis in Greece and EU’s refugee crisis –
GREECE FINANCIAL CRISIS
Before 2001 when Greece was not the part of EU, it used “drachma” as its currency, but after joining the Union, it adopted the use of the euro as its currency.
Over the period of few years, it was seen that the public revenues (taxes) were much less than the public expenditure, which lead Greece into serious debt, and the economy of Greece witnessed a great recession. When the creditors got to know about this situation, they lost their trust in the country’s economy and demanded to charge higher interest rates. Which eventually increased the nation’s debt which led Greece into a vicious debt cycle.
All the other European countries stepped in to help Greece. They provided Greece with low-interest credit and few even took a share in its debt. But in return for this help European union asked Greece to implement “austerity measures”.
According to these Austerity measures, Greece had to increase its revenues (taxes) and decrease its spending. This measure deteriorated the condition of Greece’s economy even more. It sucked out all the money from its economy and the GDP of the country went into negative. Though after some time and a few more borrowings later, its economy was getting a little better and they even stopped austerity measures but it’s no lie that because of this measure it took a long time for Greece to recover, and it also affected other European union countries equally if not less. However, if Greece had its own currency, it could have easily handled the situation by printing more money under its measures.
EUROPEAN UNION REFUGEE CRISIS
Since 2015, refugees started to flee to Europe in very high numbers. This happened due to the war in many countries like Syria, Somalia, Iraq, and a few others.
Refugees started to enter Europe illegally. In 2015, when the number of refugees became extremely large, the European union discussed it and found a solution. They opened their borders for legal entry of refugees.
Now as we have read above the European Union is a combination of 27 countries earlier 28, Britain also being a part of. European union’s parliament asked these countries to take in some percentage of refugees. Some nations agreed but some didn’t, some accepted on the basis of religion, and some only accepted to provided monetary aids. But it was compulsory for all the nations to come forward to contribute.
Britain also accepted some refugees and apart from that after the 2008 financial crisis, many people from the eurozone, the region of the European Union, also went to Britain to look for employment. Due to which the number of refugees increased in Britain.
HOW AND WHY DID BRITAIN DECIDED TO LEAVE EU?
Before knowing how did Britain decides to leave EU, we have to understand the geography of Britain.
Great Britain or simply Britain is the largest island in Europe. Usually, the term “Great Britain” is often used to refer to England, Scotland, and Wales, Northern Ireland. Great Britain and Northern Ireland now constitute the United Kingdom. Just like Europe, UK is also known as “countries within a country”. In some ways, they are referred to as an individual country for example during cricket games we see a different team for Scotland and England but during Olympics, there is one team representing Great Britain. The parliament and currency are the same for the whole of Britain but there are different flags for all these 4 countries forming Britain.
Now in 2016 UK published a referendum in which 52% of its population voted in favor of Brexit. Now, most of these people came from lower-income groups and were facing unemployment. They were afraid, if any more immigration occurred in Britain, there would be no jobs left for the British. The rest of the 48% of people who voted against Brexit were the one’s living in Scotland. They didn’t want to leave the EU and hence requested the govt to make Scotland an independent country. But the UK government straightforwardly declined their request because in 2014 there was a referendum in Scotland to know people’s views on this issue but then 55% of Scotland’s population voted to remain a part of the UK.
Up till 2020, there were many discussions on “Brexit-Great Britain’s exit from EU” in the UK. And after many long talks on this matter, Brexit finally occurred on 31st January 2020 but trade agreements with Europe were still blurred. However, after one long year of wait, it happened on 1st January 2021. UK left the EU’s economic embrace and both the parties agreed upon their new trade agreement.
These new trade conditions will bring a lot of change, not only in the European Union but also in India.
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