NewsLast Thursday, June 23rd 2016, many people woke up to realize a historic event had taken place in the UK that will have implications for both the European Union and the wider world. All over social media and international news, Brexit (Britain+Exit) made the headlines and we thought it would be nice to cover this important issue!
The UK people voted in the EU referendum. A referendum is a vote about a single issue and every citizen can cast a ballot. Usually a referendum occurs if politicians think the issue is really important that the public should be able to express their opinions. The question posed to the British people was ‘Should the United Kingdom remain a member of the European Union (EU) or leave the EU?’
What is the EU?
Well, it is a complex question. In fact, after the poll closed, popular google search terms in the UK included: ‘What is the EU?’ and ‘What does leaving the EU mean?’ which just shows how complex the EU is and how many British people were unclear about the role of the EU. Here are some videos to help you understand:
To sum up, the EU is an international body composed of European countries for political and economic cooperation. EU citizens enjoy freedom of movement and can thus work and live in other countries with little limitations. No need to worry about visas and border controls!
Many analysts claim that both campaigns have proven ineffective in educating the public about the pros and cons of staying in the EU. The campaigns have appealed to people’s emotions and fears rather than presenting solid cases. Hopefully, these videos will make you feel more informed:
Here are pro-Brexit comments by former London Mayor, Boris Johnson:
Here are some entertaining anti-Brexit comments by John Oliver:
The Economist neatly summarized some arguments concerning Brexit:
Over 70% of British voters cast their vote. 51.8% voted to Leave and 48.2% voted to Remain. So the Leave campaign won and the UK government will have to negotiate with the EU in the next two years. The demographic features in this vote were also interesting with the majority of the elderly voting (50+) to leave and the majority of the younger generation (under 30s) voting to remain. Moreover, Scotland voted to remain whereas vast parts of England voted to leave. What was revealed on Thursday morning is that the country is divided. In the meantime, the UK stock market crashed and the pound is the weakest in 30 years and the Prime Minister Cameron resigned. It seems that the UK will experience uncertainty in the near future.
Here are some public reactions:
Why is this so important?
UK’s Leave vote is gaining so much international coverage because it may have consequences not just for the UK. Many people believe that this vote thwarted the ideal of a united Europe which emerged after two World Wars that ravaged the continent. Nationalist parties in other parts of Europe are also asking for referendum which may destabilize the EU as a whole. This can, in effect, influence the ability of EU to solve global challenges including Syrian refugee crisis to climate change which will affect many, many people.
Anyway, we hope this post helped you to understand the issue better and we encourage you to follow how Brexit news in the coming months and years and find out more if you are interested!