by Arnav Singh
On January 31st, 2020, the United Kingdom left the European Union, 47 years after joining the EU’s predecessor, the European Economic Community. Even six months later, the ordeal is far from over, with intense negotiations still underway.
The UK has now entered a transitional period set to end on 31 December 2020, during which the UK and the EU will have to negotiate a trade deal - otherwise, the consequences for the UK's economy will be catastrophic.
The decision to leave has caused the resignation of two Prime Ministers and has triggered three general elections in four years, which begs the following question: how did the UK end up in such a mess?
Before we delve into the immediate causes, it’s important to point out that the UK never completely took to European Integration the way the other members of the European Union did: always prioritizing its independence and sovereignty, it had opted out of major EU integration initiatives.
For example, the UK chose not to join the Schengen Area (26 nations that have adopted a common visa and have simplified their border control policies), and also opted out of joining the Eurozone, under which 19 countries in Europe formed a monetary union through adopting a common currency and monetary policy.
The Brits voting to leave the EU can be put down to four main reasons:
the 2008 recession and the Eurozone debt crisis,
issues over national sovereignty, and
an effective campaign run by politicians persuading Brits to vote leave.