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Issue in foreign Policy


The unprecedented result of referendum on exiting European Union, conducted across United Kingdom on 23rd June came as a big surprise to many people across Europe. Brexit has now become a global issue as it has generated a lot of interest and curiosity amongst political analysts in particular. It has been regarded as one of the biggest events of the twenty­first century and to understand its consequences further, we need to answer few basic questions like what is Brexit? What factors have led to Brexit? What is the future of Britain after Brexit?

What is Brexit

Brexit is an abbreviation which is used to donate Britain exit from the European Union as a result of a referendum, conducted on the 23rd June in UK, where the majority voted in favour of Brexit. Further, the voting percentage of Brexit in a broader sense refers to the fact that treaties and agreements of the Europian Union would now no longer be binding on Britain.

European Union

The Union comprises of 28th member states whose strength would now be reduced to 27 after the exit of Britain from EU. Its headquarters are in Brussels and its members have to abide by its treaties and agreements. Croatia is the latest member of the group (2013). The member states of European Union have a common foreign policy, while having a common market which facilitates the free moment of goods, services and process across the member states. It aims to do away with the concept of border control and has a common currency (Euro), which has been adopted by all member states, except UK. Presently, UK is the second largest contributor to the budget of EU after Germany.

Factors which led to Brexit

We are living in a Globalised world which is dominated by the ideologies of Capitalism. Globalisation has made the world interconnected by facilitating free movements of goods, services and people across the world. It has brought economic prosperity and raised the standards of living on one hand, while on the other hand it has led to problem of widespread unemployment and poverty for the masses. European Union was formed after World War 2 to facilitate economic cooperation between European countries in 1951 by France, Germany, Belgium, Luxembourg, Netherlands, and Italy by the Treaty of Paris. In 1957, Europe Economic Community was formed by Treaty of Rome, to facilitate free movement of goods, services and people across the member states of EU. Britain became a member of EEC in 1973. It is the only country in the EU to have its own currency (Pound).

The factors of Brexit could be attributed mainly to three reasons which are economy, migration and sovereignty. Britain is the largest trading partner for the EU countries however over the years its trade deficit with the EU countries is on an increase as the exports of goods and services together account for 44% while the import account for 54. Britain is the second largest contributor to the budget of EU. It contributes 10 billion pounds and still it does not have much say in the EU, as its vote share through the Council of Ministers has fallen from 17% in 1973 to 8 % in 2016. When UK had joined the EU its member states had an economy of 36%, while presently the economy of EU is 17%. The economy of US, Canada, Australia and New Zealand have outperformed EU. Unemployment in Britain for the first time after 2005 has fallen below 5% because of immigration in Britain which impacted especially the small scale workers. Britain has been to some extent been able to restrict the immigration from non EU countries but it has greatly been affected by the immigration from the EU countries which has steadily gone up to 184000 as of March 2015 which Britain has been not been able to stop due to the policy free moment of across EU countries. It has also led to increase in crimes in Britain as it is difficult to keep a track record of number of immigrants in Britain.

The leave campaign was led under the tagline 'Take back control', which clearly shows that EU in course of time has started acting like political institution which is being seen as an encroachment to its sovereignty by the people of Britain. EU over the years has acquired complete characteristics of a nation state. It has a Parliament, President and Court of Justice, in addition it has its own currency, national flag and a national anthem. EU had started interfering in the internal affairs of Britain as in the recent judgement, the European Court of Justice gave a judgement that ill legal migrants cannot be detained, making it difficult to keep a track of number of immigrants in Britain.

EU Plans greater integration by expanding its membership to new countries such as Turkey, Serbia, Macedonia, Montenegro, Serbia and Albania which is likely to further worsen the problem of immigration and increase the budgetary contribution on all its member states. The five presidents’ report clearly states out the plans of greater economic and monitory integration. There are plans to have European Army which the President of European Commission Jean­ Claude Junker describes it as strategic necessity. This clearly shows that in near future, sovereignty of member states of EU would further erode.

Future Prospects for Britain

It Brexit gives a historic opportunity to Britain to emerge as a strong economy in Europe as it would no longer have to contribute to the budget of EU, which gives an opportunity to Britain to utilise the same money in other social welfare schemes such as the Health Service, that would get an extra £5 billion a year, as a result of Brexit, creating an opportunity for employment in the process. Britain is the sixth largest economy of the world it seems difficult to believe that the EU countries would take the risk of imposing tariffs on the trade with Britain, as its imports goods worth £89 billion from the EU countries.

Britain can now have independent bilateral trade agreements with countries like India and China which are the fastest growing economics of the world. It would now no longer be bided by the treaties and agreements of EU. Earlier due to the common trade policy of EU it could not establish independent bilateral relations with nations with which EU does not have any trade agreements. Britain exports to EU countries have fallen from 55 % in 2006 to 45% in the last year, which was becoming a major cause of concern.

Brexit would give the much needed freedom to Britain to take back control of its borders and would reduce the number of immigrants entering Britain, as last year it had 184,000 migrants from the EU countries. Britain was one of the first countries to open its borders to the new member states in EU in 2004.

Most importantly, Brexit gives sovereignty to Britain which was being eroded by EU under any conflict between parliamentary statues and Brussels ruling, where the latter would get supremacy. According to the Commons Library, up to 60 per cent of regulations originate from the EU and the 28­member Commission, none of whom were elected. Britain has lost 3 quarters of cases which it had challenged in the European Court of Justice, since 1973 that clearly shows that EU is slowly and steadily moving towards a United States of Europe.