Brexit: a boomerang for the United Kingdom?

Brexit: a boomerang for the United Kingdom?

The decision of the United Kingdom to leave Europe – with a 51.9% not staying anymore in EU – represented an earthquake for the entire European Union because, after the referendum on February 23rd 2016, there have been numerous consequences both on the political, economic and social level.

These consequences first occurred within the United Kingdom because the decision to leave the European Union was not unanimous: in fact, for example, Northern Ireland and Scotland ruled in favor of staying in the EU and it is creating a clear split between the north and south of the Country.

Scotland has requested directly from Brussels that it can remain in the European Union with the inevitable consequence of wanting to propose a referendum to seek independence from the United Kingdom; Brussels, through a public letter signed by MEPs from various member states, has announced that if the independence referendum is successful, it will be happy to begin negotiations with the Scotland to remain in the European Union.

As also emerges from this graph, Brexit has caused an evident division between the north and south of the country; in addition to Scotland, Northern Ireland has expressed itself in favor of staying in the European Union, as it is from here that every day people and goods pass through Ireland that we remember, unlike Northern Ireland, is an independent state whose permanence in the Union it is not questioned but it is precisely this difference that has caused problems in recent months as there has been discussion on the positioning of the border between the United Kingdom and the European Union which would risk splitting Ireland in two; fortunately, with great difficulty, an agreement has recently been reached: a physical frontier will not be set up within the Country to prevent this eventuality.

The problems caused by Brexit are not only political but also affect the freedom of movement of both goods and people, especially those resident in the Anointed Kingdom whose number is around 3 million people: their future is a crucial point of the UK exit agreement from the European Union: the United Kingdom promises to safeguard the rights of foreign nationals established in the State on the condition that Europe also provides favorable treatment for British citizens resident in other Member States.

As we can see, there are many questions to be solved; as we have seen, these concern more than one sector, including the commercial sector: in fact, immediately after the outcome of the referendum, many important multinationals have moved to other Member States stating that their interest is to remain in Europe in order to be facilitated in the commercial exchanges, thus continuing to make use of the rules on the free movement of goods and capital; undoubtedly, once again, this has had negative repercussions for the United Kingdom as millions of jobs have been lost, as has the loss of the London record to be the first European financial center; so the Brexit has also upset the puzzle of European wealth, bringing the Member States to a sort of competition to get the foreigners financiers and this competition is based on those who offer better tax breaks.

It is clear that for the United Kingdom the Brexit has constituted a sort of boomerang since the resulting effects were only negative or even detrimental to the same internal policy which currently appears precarious not only for Scotland’s intention to promote a referendum for independence and for Ireland’s requests to be not split in two but also for the recent requests by the mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, who, in order to cope with the flight of multinationals and European agencies, asked the British government to obtain special treatment thus allowing  to maintain in London the European financial center by safeguarding millions of jobs.

For the moment, the Government has replied that the exit from the United Kingdom will be compact and not on a chessboard, therefore without the possibility of compromises; this will certainly entail new tensions. In conclusion, we can say without any doubt that Brexit has brought many negative consequences for the United Kingdom, certainly more than it should have tolerated while remaining in the Union; in particular, I refer to the collapse of national sovereignty and the subjection to certain economic constraints; at the same time, the Brexit set up a valuable opportunity for the other States of the Union to attract multinational companies looking for a new location and give new impetus to their financial markets.

It also has been an opportunity for re-thinking the future of Europe that seems increasingly in crisis beeing unable to respond to the social needs of its citizens thereby allowing the birth and growth of anti-European feelings that led, in the case of the United Kingdom, to the disastrous consequences we are witnessing. For sure, the consequences brought by Brexit will be a clear warning to other Member States that thinks to leave European Union.

By Gemma Porciani