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Posted by on Jul 11, 2016 in Tell Me Why |

What Is Brexit?

What Is Brexit?

Brexit is an abbreviation of “British exit”, which refers to the June 23, 2016 referendum by British voters to exit the European Union. The referendum roiled global markets, including currencies, causing the British pound to fall to its lowest level in decades.

British withdrawal from the European Union is a political goal that has been pursued by various individuals, advocacy groups, and political parties from across the political spectrum since the United Kingdom joined the precursor of the European Union (EU) in 1973. Withdrawal from the European Union has been a right of EU member states since 2007 under Article 50 of the Treaty on European Union. It is often referred to as Brexit, or, in early usage, Brixit, both words derived by analogy from Grexit.

In 1973, the UK joined the European Economic Community (EEC). In 1975, a referendum was held on the country’s continued membership of the EEC, which was approved by 67% of voters. The EEC later transformed into the EU.

In 2016, a referendum was held on the country’s membership of the EU. This referendum was arranged by Parliament when it passed the European Union Referendum Act 2015. The result was 52% in favour of leaving and 48% in favour of remaining, with a turnout of 72% of the electorate.

The process for the UK’s withdrawal is uncertain under EU law, although it is generally expected to take at least two years. Article 50, which governs the withdrawal, has never been used before. The timing for leaving under the article is a strict two years, although extensions are possible once Britain gives an official notice, but no official notice seems likely to be forthcoming until after a new British Prime Minister is selected later in 2016.

The assumption is that during the two year window new agreements may be negotiated, but there is no requirement that there be new agreements. The British Prime Minister David Cameron announced he will resign by October, while the First Minister of Scotland Nicola Sturgeon has said that Scotland might refuse consent for legislation required to leave the EU.

What were their reasons for wanting the UK to leave?

They said Britain was being held back by the EU, which they said imposed too many rules on business and charged billions of pounds a year in membership fees for little in return. They also wanted Britain to take back full control of its borders and reduce the number of people coming here to live and/or work.

One of the main principles of EU membership is “free movement”, which means you don’t need to get a visa to go and live in another EU country. The Leave campaign also objected to the idea of “ever closer union” and what they see as moves towards the creation of a “United States of Europe”.

Content for this question contributed by Peggy Johnson, resident of Kane, Greene County, Illinois, USA