UK-EU breakup: A messy exit

Will the United Kingdom leave the European Union? Or won’t it? Three years after the people of the UK voted to leave the EU, the country still hasn’t been able to finalise its exit from the EU.UK’s Prime Minister Theresa May has been scrambling to create an agreement for the exit that works for the UK as well as the EU but she hasn’t been successful so far. Time is running out as the deadline for the UK’s exit from the EU is looming.

What is the EU?

The EU is a unified group of countries that have common rules for trade and finance (money management). Within the EU, people can move freely across borders without visas. Any product manufactured in one country can be sold in any other member country without tariffs or duties. Taxes are the same everywhere.  Lawyers, bankers and doctors can operate in all member countries. In essence, the EU works as one giant country.

Why does the UK want to leave the EU?

The UK is unhappy about the flow of refugees and immigrants from other countries. Wars and tough living conditions have brought millions of refugees from Africa and West Asia into the EU. The UK doesn’t like the idea of making room for them. Plus it feels that the EU imposes too many rules on member countries. These reasons made the people of the UK vote to exit the EU on June 23, 2016.

What is the problem?

The UK and Northern Ireland are marked in blue
The UK and Northern Ireland are marked in blue

Untangling itself from the EU is no easy task. The island of Ireland poses one of the biggest problems. While Northern Ireland is part of the UK, the rest of Ireland is an independent nation that will stay on in the EU. If the UK leaves the EU, the line dividing the nation of Ireland from Northern Island will become an international border with all the checks and taxes that come along with such a border. The UK wants to avoid this but in return, the EU wants the UK to keep following some of the EU’s trade rules. But that is one of the reasons the UK wanted to leave the EU in the first place! See the problem?

The deadline for the UK to exit the EU was March 29, 2019. The UK may now be given some more time to arrive at an agreement with the EU. But for now, no one knows how they are going to arrive at such an agreement!