The European Union, (EU) has been something that many European nations has discussed to combine their economic efforts by forming a European Common Market, which in 1992 became known as the European Community, (Moran, Abramson & Moran, 2014). This European Community was established through the Maastricht Treaty and went into effect on November 1, 1993, which 12 countries signed this original agreement (Carter, Jan. 2018). From the onset there has been a lot of controversy and many individuals in many of the countries have disagreed with the combined market. Many felt and still do feel that this integration undermines their countries nationalism, (Moran, et al, 2014).
Fast forward 26 years and the European Community is now the European Union, (EU). In 2002 eleven of the member countries agreed to a common currency known as the Euro, “which allowed for goods, people, services, information and capital to move freely among member countries (Moran, et al, 2014, p. 462). As of 2019 the EU has 28 member countries, (World Population Review, 2019), it is one of the world’s biggest markets, exporters and foreign investors and is home to many of the largest and most successful companies, (Moran, et al 2014). So you may wonder why there are countries who are still opposed to the EU and why is Briton so opposed to remaining in the EU.
Part of the EU agreement is the budgeting process which occurs every seven years. A major part of this budgeting process includes how much each country contributes and receives from the EU, and the UK is the 2nd highest net contributor after Germany, which means it contributes more than it gets back, (Kovacevic, 2019). This could be one reason that the UK wants out of the EU, but there is also other areas of concerns that are driving the debates of Brexit.
A benefit of the EU is the customs union, which means that when goods travel between the 28 countries there is no customs of fees paid, but when goods enter the EU from other countries there are common charges that once paid goods can then move freely through the other countries without any other fees or charges, (Kovacevic, 2019). This brought many industries to EU countries, especially the UK. This enables products to be made within the EU and will avoid tariffs since they are manufactured within the boundaries of the EU and can move quickly and easily amongst the other 28 EU countries. The customs union prohibits any of the countries from negotiating independent trade deals so that one country does not have an economic advantage over the rest of the countries, by negotiating better tariff deals than the common union.
One of the other major concerns of the people of the UK is the free movement of people through the EU. This resulted in a large migration of people who were in the former Soviet Union to relocate to the UK which has increased the number of the working class in major cities that are all now competing for jobs and resources and allowed for these same people to be entitled to claim welfare benefits, (Boyle, 2015). With the free movement of people across the 28 countries came European Court of Human Rights which has made it harder for countries to deport foreign-born criminals, (Boyle, 2015).
It is easy to see the controversy surrounding Brexit. There have been benefits to the UK by being part of the EU, but it has also brought some other burdens and concerns to the nationals that have not affected the other countries in the same way. As countries try to hold onto their national identities the EU agreements and laws are making that more difficult the longer the EU is in force. The UK and a few other countries kept their own currency most moved to the common Euro; with the ease of migration from one country to another, many national cultures and beliefs are changing as the demographics of the residents change, which this particular issue has had a significant impact on the UK. The next Brexit vote is scheduled for January of 2020, and although some of the major corporations who have built factories and headquarters in the UK are threatening to leave if Brexit is approved many still believe that it is the best decision for the UK and its people.
Boyle, C., May 2015. Just What Is the UK’s Problem with Europe? CNBC. Retrieved from https://www.cnbc.com/2015/05/27/why-would-the-uk-want-to-leave-the-eu.html
Carter, B., Jan. 2018. Maastricht Treaty 25 years on: The Birth of the EU…And Euroscepticism. Euronews. Retrieved from https://www.euronews.com/2018/11/01/maastricht-treaty-25-years-on-the-birth-of-the-eu-and-euroscepticism
Kovacevic, T., May 2019. EU Budget: Who Pays Most In and Who Gets Most Back? BBC News retrieved from https://www.bbc.com/news/uk-politics-48256318
List of Countries in the European Union Population. (2019-10-24). Retrieved 2019-11-23, from http://worldpopulationreview.com/countries/list-of-countries-in-the-european-union/
Moran R., Abramson, N.R., Moran, S. (2014). Managing Cultural Differences, Ninth Edition. Routledge, New York, NY.
Mueller, B., Oct 2019. What is Brexit? A Simple Guide to Why It Matters and What Happens Next; the New York Times. Retrieved from https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2019/world/europe/what-is-brexit.html