What were the long-term (historical) and short-term causes for the United Kingdom's decision to exit the European Union?

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The United Kingdom voted to quit the European Union. There are various factors that compelled Britons to vote for Brexit. These reasons span from historical to contemporary. Economic, sovereignty, and political elitism are among the long-term factors. The short-term reasons were mostly a heart vs head issue, with many emotionally pulled to Europe. Consider the diminished role that a sullen, introverted Europe will play in their children's lives. Brexit was also motivated by internal politics.

It is maintained that the EU is not only a common market, but rather a regional bloc similar to Nafta or Asean. The EU is unique among international organizations in that it legislates for its members. In any conflict between a parliamentary statute and the ruling of a Brussels institution, the latter takes precedence. This legal supremacy, which was not challenged during the renegotiation, is the basis for the political merger of the member states.  The EU is not a free-trade area; it is a customs union. The difference may seem technical, but it goes to the heart of the decision we face. Free-trade areas remove barriers between members and, economists agree, tend to make participants wealthier. Customs unions, by contrast, erect a common tariff wall around their members, who surrender the right to strike individual trade deals. From the start, the EEC prioritized politics over economics and opted for a customs union as the means to a political union. Britain is one of only two of 28 member states that sell more to the rest of the world than to the EU and have always been badly punished by the EU’s Common External Tariff Unlike Switzerland, which enjoys free trade with the EU at the same time as striking agreements with China and other growing economies. Therefore the Britain must contract out its’ trade policy to a European.

The reason which was one of the strongest for the exit was economy. The EU failed to address the economic problems that had been developing since 200 for example, 20% unemployment in southern Europe. The difference between the lives of southern Europeans and Germans who enjoy 4.2% unemployment is profound. Europe as a whole has stagnated economically. The argument for remaining in the EU was that the alternative was economic disaster. However, staying in a stagnated organization to solve British problems seemed shortsighted and made little sense to opponents. They believed that remaining in the European Union would make Britain follow Europe’s lead. Obviously, they didn’t think that Europe would throw up trade barriers against Britain. The UK is Germany’s third most important export target. The last thing Germany wants is a trade war with Britain. Similarly, the threat that London’s banks would decamp for Frankfurt is logistically implausible. Clients from around the world enjoy visiting London, and in finance, it’s the clients that matter. The European Union didn’t create the existing financial relationships. Britain’s financial role goes back almost two centuries. The EU is a system that aligns with financial reality. It does not create it. If London’s banks were to move to Frankfurt, New York would become a unique magnet. In the end, the Europeans need a financial center in London. They will not lock it out.

May 02, 2023

World Economics


Europe Politics

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