Interpreting Brexit: Deal or No Deal?

Written by: Julie Schneiberg

Boris Johnson, successor to Prime Minister Theresa May who resigned in July of 2019, is focused on one goal: the withdrawal of the United Kingdom from the European Union. Johnson has worked hard to promote his Pro-Brexit ideology, and has no intention of stepping back from his position on the issue. The implications of this power move are large, and the question is not if the deal will affect U.K citizens and the rest of the world, but rather how?

The British exit from the European Union, coined Brexit, has been a heavy topic of discussion since 2016 when it was first introduced at a referendum and received the majority vote. Why has it taken so long? Brexit is an agreement between the United Kingdom and the European Union. Former Prime Minister Theresa May and the E.U originally secured an agreement outlining the terms of Britain’s exit, but the U.K parliament has since turned down the deal twice. The deal has struggled to get approval for a number of reasons. Namely, the parliaments inability to come to an agreement on the terms outlined in the deal, but what has changed since the original referendum? The Brexit movement arose due to a British desire to become a sovereign nation, yet, Brexit has quickly dissolved into an anti-Europe ideology. Due to ongoing talks and rejected deals, there is much debate surrounding whether or not the U.K should leave the E.U at all. According to an article by The Observer, “additional polls consistently show that those favoring the EU would win a new referendum, as people realize the consequences of Brexit, as well as the false promises such a plan won’t deliver.” The UK has struggled to hash out a deal surrounding immigration, border control, and economic implications such as international trade. However, the process has been long and 2020 will mark its fourth year of postponement, but Prime Minister Johnson has vowed to make the new 31 January 2020 deadline, with or without an E.U agreement. But what exactly are the consequences of Brexit, deal or no deal?

There will be consequences of Brexit even with a deal, but the implications are a no-deal Brexit will be more severe for people worldwide, including Americans, if members of the British parliament cannot come to an agreement on a deal and the divorse is filed anyway. For starters, the United Kingdom’s international trade would be significantly affected. They would essentially be leaving the customs union and the single market overnight. The U.K currently benefits from the tariff free trade with the E.U, and 50% of their exports go to countries within the organization, which means a reintroduction to trade tariffs. Therefore, in addition to complications with exported goods, imported goods such as food and medicines, are likely to surge in price or even decline in availability. The rate of the British pound could drop, consequently sending the U.K into an economic recession.

Another implication of a British Exit is its effect on immigration. Members of the European Union currently benefit for the right to live and work freely in any country within the organized network of countries. While many foreigners benefit from the policy, the British do as well. Approximately 784,900 British citizens live elsewhere in the E.U, seven out of ten being in France, Spain, or Germany. If Britain leaves the E.U, British citizens living abroad may be required to relocate as a deal surrounding these expats has yet to be negotiated. This has caused a lot of anxiety and uncertainty for Brits, unaware if their status in their current homes could soon become illegal. 

Of course, the exact implications of a no-deal Brexit are unclear, but most economists and business groups believe that it would have economic consequences for citizens of the U.K. In an attempt to meet his deadline, Prime Minister Johnson called for an early election because “the only way out of the impasse was to hold an early vote in an attempt to seek a parliamentary majority to enact his Brexit plan.” The unique upcoming general election, to be held on December 12th, will be a determinant of the fate of the Brexit deal. Ultimately, a withdrawal from the European Union is a nationalist move. It’s a step away from globalization, and it undermines principles such as peace and prosperity through unity that the organization was founded on. A divorce between the United Kingdom and the European Union, especially one with no-deal, has negative implications on both the U.K’s economy and immigration. While the future of the United Kingdom’s place in the European Union is uncertain, their citizens should keep the consequences in mind when they head to the ballot box.