In the know: What is ‘Brexit’?
“BREXIT,” a combination of “Britain” and “exit,” is the nickname for the British exit from the European Union (EU) that was submitted to a referendum in the United Kingdom on Thursday.
In the referendum, voters were asked: “Should the United Kingdom remain a member of the European Union or leave the European Union?”
In a shocking close-run vote, the British public decided to leave the European Union. The “Leave” campaign won by 52 percent, beating the “Remain” campaign, which drew 48-percent voter support.
Prime Minister David Cameron, the proponent of the referendum and who led the Remain campaign, resigned after the vote.
Britain joined the European Economic Community on Jan. 1, 1973, along with Denmark and Ireland.
In 1975, Labor Prime Minister Harold Wilson called a referendum on Britain’s membership and 66 percent of the British voted to stay in the European Community.
The signing of the Single European Act in 1987 mandated the creation of an internal market, “an area without frontiers in which the free movement of goods and persons, services and capital is ensured.”
This led to the formation in 1993 of the Economic Union, which before the British referendum, was an economic and political union of 28 countries.
In the past, the UK has chosen to opt out of some key EU decisions, like the single currency euro and the Schengen Treaty, which relaxed border controls.
Critics believe Britain is being held back by the European Union, gets little in return for the money it pays in and would be better taking back control of its borders.
According to the New York Times, pro-Brexit advocates have framed leaving the European Union as necessary to protect, or perhaps restore, the country’s identity: its culture, independence and place in the world. This argument is often expressed by opposition to immigration.
“Remain” supporters typically argue that staying in the union is better for the British economy and that concerns about migration and other issues are not important enough to outweigh the economic consequences of leaving. Compiled by Inquirer Research
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