After World War II, the United Kingdom had an incredibly difficult time entering the European Economic Community, EEC, due to President Charles de Gaulle of France subduing its entrance through the veto process. After being denied entry on two separate occasions, once in 1937 and the second in 1963, the United Kingdom was finally granted a seat at the table in 1973.
Two years later, the UK had a similar vote to decide if they should stay or leave the “common market;” ultimately deciding it was better to be a part of the bigger whole. As the world continued to rebuild after World War II, having allies that one could rely on was key for every European country, as each nation focused on building their economy. Now some four decades later, the United Kingdom has decided once again to revisit their use and need of the European Union; this time, the nation voted to exit.
As you can imagine, the country is split between those who support the decision and those who want to remain in the EU. On one side, you have conservative politicians, the current prime minister, and big business, whereas on the other side, you have a growing grassroots movement, new business, and technology companies.
So what was the primary reason behind the final decision to leave the table of what many consider the largest world economic group ever created? One of the major areas of complaint behind the leave has been addressing the policy on freedom of movement and labor for European Union citizens.
Others cite the Euro disaster as a leading cause for exit, despite the fact that the Euro has recovered over the last several years. Some are calling for more liberal rules on migration and economic regulations. Boris Johnson, the ex-mayor of London, wrote to the Telegraph, highlighting, “The more the EU does, the less room there is for national decision-making. Sometimes these EU rules sound simply ludicrous, like the rule that you can’t recycle a teabag, or that children under eight cannot blow up balloons, or the limits on the power of vacuum cleaners. Sometimes they can be truly infuriating – like the time I discovered, in 2013, that there was nothing we could do to bring in better-designed cab windows for trucks, to stop cyclists being crushed. It had to be done at a European level, and the French were opposed.”
The vote is expected to have global consequences, impacting not only the UK economy but also potentially causing a multitude of recessions worldwide. The long term impact is not the only topic in the news and Jo Cox, a strong supporter of “leaving” the EU, was caught up in the crossfire of a divided country; ultimately leading to her untimely death after being shot and stabbed during a street altercation.
As the country comes to grips with the change, the world is wondering how will this move impact lives, globally. For the United States, President Barack Obama has stated that the relationship between the UK and US would remain unchanged, but many other nations do not share that sentiment.
Many African nations, for example, may suffer from the adverse effects, specifically the country of Nigeria. Nigeria is part of the British Commonwealth with the United Kingdom being the second largest trading partner for the Nigerian nation, many are worried about the strain this could put on the country’s growth and long term investment plans.
While politicians around the world sit back and try to make sense of how this will impact their own nations, some are rallying for a second vote in hopes to bring the UK back into the EU and secure the harmony that once was. Only time will tell if this decision will prove beneficial, and as it stands, the United Kingdom has made their stance on the subject quite clear.