The inevitable happened. The European Union needs to learn to live without the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland. It is an anticipated event of three and a half years. It takes place after almost five decades since Great Britain joined the European bloc. Brexit has finally happened!
31.01.2020, 11 P.M in London, Great Britain officially leaves the European Union. This day represents a big holiday for pro-Brexit British. They spent the first moments outside the European Union with champagne, fireworks, music and dance.
But those who fear that Britain will become an inaccessible land following the separation, should know that the UK will continue to follow and enforce EU regulations until December 2020.
What’s changing after Brexit?
First of all, as of today, the UK has no representative in the European Commission and in the European Parliament. In other words, one of the great powers of the European Union will no longer participate in the decision-making process in the EU.
Also starting today, the community bloc remained with 27 members, thus decreasing 66 million inhabitants, the EU population reduced to 446 million, while the territory of the European Union reduced by 5.5%.
Nor does the European Parliament escape unhindered: it loses 46 members and remains with 705 members. Of the 73 mandates that belonged to the United Kingdom, 27 were redistributed to other states, while the remaining 46 will be retained for potential future enlargements.
Will Great Britain disappear?
Following Brexit, the UK is likely to disintegrate. The scenario for Scotland, Northern Ireland and Wales to gain independence in the near future is more likely to happen than we ever expected. In particular, Scotland, the main state dissatisfied with leaving the European Union, wants a new referendum on independence, through the voice of Scottish Prime Minister Nicola Sturgeon. British Prime Minister Boris Johnson is strongly opposing.
Moreover, Boris Johnson is preparing for some austerity measures, introducing customs and border controls for all EU goods that will enter the United Kingdom, in response to the officials’ farewell gift from Brussels – a payment note of 1, 09 billion pounds.
Six years ago, in 2014, Scotland held a referendum on independence from the UK. The result of the election divided the country into two sides: over 55% of Scots had voted against independence. Today, however, in the light of the shock that Brexit may generate across the UK, the outcome may look very different.
In this respect, Emmanuel Macron, President of France said on January 31 that the exit of Great Britain from the European Union is “a shock” and “an alarm signal”. But, the European Community bloc must have an open, collaborative relationship from Great Britain: “It is the sovereign decision of the British people. This departure is a shock. It is an unprecedented alarm signal that must be heard by the whole world. And it should make us reflect. For the first time in 70 years, a country is leaving the European Union.”
What happens to foreign citizens?
Foreign citizens living in the United Kingdom can apply until June 2021 for the procedure for obtaining resident status. It allows them to stay in the country after leaving the European Union. Only those who have lived in the UK for at least five years can apply.
Also, foreigners will be able to travel on the territory of Great Britain only with the identity card. This will last until the end of 2020. After that. it will be necessary to obtain a visa or passport.
A brief history of a long-standing European relationship
The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland has been an EU member for 43 years, with several claims and particularities, such as the possibility of refusing to remove border controls or the single European currency. However, the British have become increasingly dissatisfied with certain economic issues or with the way in which decisions have been applied at the Community level, particularly regarding labor migration. Euroscepticism thus manifested itself as an increasing current for the British.
In June 2016, the historic referendum took place.
The result has created differences within the Kingdom. Scotland and Northern Ireland have voted to remain in the EU, and England (with the exception of London) and Wales have voted to leave the EU. 60% of young people between the ages of 18 and 24 voted for staying in the EU, and the same percentage of people over 65 voted for leaving the EU.
However, on March 29, 2017, the British Government initiated withdrawal procedures from the European Union, in accordance with Article 50 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union.
This marks the end of coexistence in a common European house between the United Kingdom and the European Union. After 47 years, the historic departure has happened. It remains to be seen how British officials will manage this outing, as well as the desire for independence from Scotland, Northern Ireland and Wales. Will we be witnessing in the near future a UK’s disappearance or a penitently return in the arms of the European Union?