It was a comparatively less sunny morning on January the 1st in 1973, the year had just started and the news that was on every television; United Kingdom has joined the European Union. It was a big day for promising partnerships and friendly trade agreements. And we were all looking forward to a bright future of each of the three economies that had joined the EU. Yes, back in 1973, there were only three countries that made up what was then called the European Economic Community. Evolution took place and we have 28 of the high and mightiest members of the European continent under one pact today. But here too, the winds have started to shift.
A referendum will be taking place in a few months’ time which is going to decide the future of UK’s membership in the EU. How did these winds actually start to shift and what are the speculations actually, this brief look is into that particular matter.
The Prospects of UK-EU Membership Referendum of 2016
The story begins in 2012 when David Cameron, Prime Minister of the UK rejected all calls to establish a referendum for the future of UK’s membership in the EU, pushing it to 2016 and stating that a conservative government will have vote to decide the membership’s fate. The conservative party, which was led by Cameron won the elections last year and called for a EUR act of 2015 (European Union Referendum) and announced that the party members may campaign in favor of the membership or against it.
Speculations are currently unclear on UK’s stance if the votes are in favor of the exit, however there will be a two-year period given to the Kingdom for a proper closure of the membership. The referendum is set to take place on June 23rd of the current year in the UK and Gibraltar.
There are, however, a few key points worth mentioning at this hour that may give our audiences a few important insights on the matter:
The Great Britain – A House Divided
Even though the United Kingdom has been extremely polarized with their membership in the European Union, the general audience has expressed a strong desire for the UK to leave or exit the European Union. An analysis conducted by the Chatham House prospected that those who would be voting in favor of the exit will have lesser academic qualifications, may very well be over 50-55 years of age and would be working in less-income low-security jobs, while the case is entirely different or exactly opposite for those who will be voting in favor of retaining the membership.
This also leaves the British divided amongst their own populace with two very different sectors and that may not be a good sign for the economy as a whole and even though people seem to be divided on the votes and the economy already in tax-heavy burdens, the British will need to cater to all yay and nay-sayers in the new future.
Brexit: The Straight Facts
So what is Brexit anyway? It is the withdrawal of the United Kingdom from the European Union, conveniently short-named as Brexit or “British-Exit”. It is said to a political agenda by a large group of people categorized into political parties, the general audience and some advocacy groups. And though David Cameron’s triumphant win at the elections has brought this idea very close to reality, let’s have a look at what can actually happen if Brexit becomes a reality:
In case of hard numbers, a research conducted at the National Institute of Economic and Social Research tells that there will be a permanent decrease in UK’s GDP of up to 2.25% which mainly be the cause of lower FDI (foreign direct investment). A fall in the income is cited to be 6.3% to 9.5% of the GDP, which is proposed by Center for Economic Performance associated with London School of Economics. (Sources: The Guardian)
The British Chamber of Commerce also surveyed about 3,500 businesses, 57% of which believe that staying a member of the EU will always produce a positive effect on the economy as a whole. 28% of the firms believe that a UK–EU free trade agreement along with a withdrawal from the EU can also result positively to the British economy. And even so, only 13% of the firms believe a complete withdrawal would be in the favor of the nation.
All in all, the current independent surveys and polls do tell that the public is divided but there are analyses that the numbers of people who actually want UK to permanently exit the European Union are still considerably low. If this for a fact remains the general attitude and direction the British citizens are taking, then there might be chance UK remains an active member of the EU. Only time will tell how this turns out and time is already counting down.
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