International

To Exit or Not to Exit?

The Fate of Brexit Should Be Revealed in October

By: Claudia Buonsante

Demonstrations have become popular in central London as the Brexit fiasco plays out. Photo Credit: The Conversation

The E.U. emerged out of the rubble of the Second World War. After a gruesome war, the countries of Europe made it a goal to maintain peace throughout the continent. To do so, they established the E.U.

This political band includes 28 countries and some of its most notable accomplishments include common citizenship rights, free movement laws, free trade zones, and a central currency. Despite this vow to establish alliances and keep the peace among European nations, Britain has become increasingly discontent with its involvement in the E.U.

Britain’s exit from the E.U., dubbed “Brexit,” was decided by a referendum in 2016. Over 30 million people cast their votes and proponents of Brexit narrowly won by 4%. While 52% of voters supported Brexit, 48% voted against it.

Although determined by a slim margin, it was clear that the referendum confirmed that Britain would be leaving the E.U. However, this was called into question when over a million people signed a petition to stay in the E.U.

This caught the attention of parliament and caused the issue to reemerge.

The issue of whether Britain should exit the E.U. is largely controversial. Pro-Brexit campaigners, such as the notable UKIP party, are fueled by anti-immigration sentiments and a growing discontent around the financial obligations of the E.U.

On the other hand, Anti-Brexit campaigners fear the withdrawal will lead to a drop in Britain’s GDP, violence along the Irish border, and a decline in the flow of products. Such products at stake include consumer goods, food, and even medicine.

The economic and political implications of Brexit are currently being debated in the halls of parliament. Although Britain was supposed to decide by March 29th, 2019, when the deadline arrived, parliament was still in disagreement.

The British Parliament had recently ruled out the idea of a no-deal Brexit, by which Britain would leave the E.U. without a written withdrawal agreement. This ruling, which was passed by one vote, caused bitter disagreements and in turn led Britain to seek an extension from the E.U.

The deadline was postponed until April 12th, 2019. However, when that date passed, Britain still had not reached a unanimous decision. In turn, they sought a deadline from the E.U. which was granted.

The British Parliament now has until October 31st to decide whether they would like to remain a part of the E.U.

   Since Brexit supporters won the 2016 referendum by such a slim margin, there is talk of holding a second one, yet parliament remains deadlocked and uncertain of its next steps. Over the past three years, there has been a shuffling of the Secretary of Brexit, followed by intense debates within the halls of parliament.

Although Prime Minister Theresa May initially advocated to remain in the E.U., she seems to have accepted the outcome of the initial referendum and is expressing interest in exiting with a withdrawal agreement.

Her agreement includes a transitionary period during which Britain will continue abiding by E.U. laws, a financial settlement, and several other stipulations. Unfortunately, Theresa May’s plan is wildly unpopular.

Given the political deadlock and the intense controversy, there is no way of knowing which way politicians will sway. We will simply have to wait until October to understand the fate of Britain and its pending role in the E.U.

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