On Saturday, February the 1st, the UK made history. By becoming the first large nation to withdraw from the EU and the United Kingdom has been left more divided than ever over the decision. The deal itself was similar to the one proposed by Theresa May, except that the UK won't not be in a customs union with the EU, meaning that trade will be more difficult. There is an exception with Northern Ireland, which will maintain a customs union with Ireland. This decision was made to soften the border and stop tensions arising between the two countries. Other nations will unfortunately be hit by the harder consequences of the withdrawal, the UK included.
The worst repercussion for the United Kingdom is the slowing of economic growth. In many places this has already happened, with many companies moving their headquarters to the EU. The government has estimated the growth to slow by about 6.7% in the next 15 years. The pound could also suffer from losing the tariff-free status granted by the EU before Brexit, which let the EU and UK trade without any extra interest. This would increase the price of exports, because of VAT, and also the price of imports, leading to inflation and lower standards of life for citizens.
Jobs would also be affected, since a significant part of the low-skilled and medium-skilled UK workforce is European. The number of EU-born workers in England fell by 95% in the year after the election, and the numbers show no signs of stopping. London's growth has been stunted by Brexit, with companies like JP Morgan, Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley already moving about 10% of their clients to other English-speaking cities like Dublin.
As for the EU, Brexit has strengthened anti-immigrant movements across Europe. With enough support they could gain traction in places like France, Italy and Germany, separating nations and polarising the West. Any one of those countries could destabilise the unity and coalition that binds the EU, and bring the ruin of the Euro, having lost its most robust economies. Luckily, the faith of Europeans in the EU stays strong, with 75% saying the EU promotes peace and prosperity. Another common idea among Europeans is that the UK's role in the EU was diminishing anyway, and their role would be less missed than that of France or Germany.
Whatever the effects on other countries, the UK will be the country most affected by the decision. For years the whole world has watched and waited to see if what the UK would do, and were always left wondering about the terrible consequences for the country. But this has never been about the repercussions; it’s been about hate and fear of other nations, with pride and patriotism being other key factors. This is an example of what happens when people act on emotions instead of rational thoughts, and how misinformation can affect a whole country. The consequences have been known for a long time. All we can do now is watch them unfold.
Lorenzo N, Year 9