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All things BREXIT!

Four arduous years hence, Britain (UK) left the European Union (EU or the bloc) on 31st December, 2020; beginning the new year as a European country beyond the EU’s jurisdiction, free to charter its own course politically and economically.

While it officially withdrew in January 2020, Britain spent the following 11 months operating under EU rules in what was called the ‘transition period,’ during which the two sides underwent extensive negotiations in re their future relations. The result-a trade agreement spelling out new rules of work, trade and life. Thereby finalizing Britain’s exit from the bloc i.e. the BREXIT.

As Britain prepares to embrace new opportunities and take on new challenges, allow me to take you through its journey of becoming the first and only country to formally leave the EU.

A farewell message on the White Cliffs of Dover from Sky News

A read…back in time!

  • In the year 1957, the Treaty of Rome was signed by France, West Germany, Belgium, Italy, Luxembourg and the Netherlands, in order to facilitate economic cooperation post WWII. It led to the establishment of the European Economic Community (EEC), predecessor to today’s European Union.

  • In the 1960s, the UK applied for membership to the EEC twice, only to be declined by France both the times. In 1973, the UK finally joined the EEC.

  • 1975 saw the UK holding its first nationwide referendum (‘public vote’) on the question of its membership in the EEC. The people voted to stay in the bloc - 67% to 33%.

  • Contrary to the above results, tensions between the EU and the UK seemed to burgeon over the years.

  • The result? Another referendum…

The Referendum

  • In 2015, Britain’s then Prime Minister David Cameron’s prospect of returning to office stood largely dependent on the question of Britain’s position with respect to the EU.

  • His Conservative Party faced considerable pressure from the United Kingdom Independence Party (UKIP), a small and staunchly Eurosceptic party, that had managed to garner support from not only the people but also certain Conservative Party figures, owing to its pro-Brexit stance.

  • With an aim to regain losing support, David Cameron included in his election manifesto, a promise to hold a referendum on the said issue, if he won the election.

  • Cameron secured his electoral victory and kept his promise, as the UK held the Brexit referendum on June 23, 2016 with the people being asked one simple question- ‘Should the UK leave or remain in the EU?’

  • While Cameron himself backed the ‘remain’ side, many prominent leaders of his party including current PM Boris Johnson backed the ‘leave’ side. The ‘leave’ side won by 52% votes.

  • Theresa May took over from Cameron after he resigned following the referendum results.