Britain made breakthrough with Brexit

Mallory Keeley, Print Newspaper Editor

In 2016, Britain made the brave and smart decision to cut its ties with the European Union (EU). Britain invoked Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty, which states, “Any Member State (EU member) may decide to withdraw from the Union in accordance with its own constitutional requirements,” on June 23, 2016, and broke away from the EU with its Brexit vote. Over a year later, the decision that once seemed dangerous to many, has benefited the British more than they could have ever expected.

Prior to leaving the EU, the United Kingdom (UK) had been bullied by EU leaders into transitioning to the euro, even though the value of the British sterling had diminished severely and the UK had never missed payments on its debt through the use of the pound.

Many British citizens feared that Southern Europe’s stagnant economy and 20 percent unemployment rate would eventually be their fate as well, if they stayed in the EU. There was also a rise in British nationalism and distrust of the multinational, economical (trade and financial organizations) and defense organizations created after World War II. These included the EU, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO). Despite the original intent behind their creation – to maintain peace – these organizations, in the view of many, became too power hungry and acted, at times, in opposition to what some member countries’ voters wanted.  A recent example of this involved the immigration crisis in Europe, in which EU political leaders pressured member countries – all sovereign entities – to aid and accept all incoming immigrants, calling it a moral duty.

Similarly, instead of being permitted to buy food from various world markets, member countries of the EU were stuck paying for expensive food within the Common Agricultural Policy. This unwarranted economic and political dominance is what sparked the controversial question of whether or not the UK should leave the EU.

Since the Brexit decision,  the UK’s economy has taken a turn for the better.  As stated by Deputy Managing Editor of the Independent, Sean O’Grady, “The only way to have lots of jobs and higher wages is to have a competitive economy,” and that’s exactly what the UK now has. Being involved in a single market with 27 other countries can easily become uncompetitive. Leaving the EU has allowed the UK to become an even more attractive trading post globally, boosting its economy. British currency (the value of the pound) and unemployment have both continued to decrease. As of June 2016, the unemployment rate stood at 4.3 percent. Annual housing price increases have also declined from the high of 9.4 percent, in 2016. Overall, the economy of the UK has continued to improve at a steady rate throughout 2017, leaving little room to doubt its sustainability into the new year.

Britain’s decision to leave the EU has opened its people to a more democratic form of government, instead of the developing authoritarian style of the EU, controlled by unelected, “appointed” political leaders. Through Brexit, the British can make their own regulations on free trade, set their own migration policies, and make their own choices on financial investments, knowing that they don’t have to act in consideration of the desires of 27 other countries that might stand opposed to British interests. Deciding to Brexit the EU has helped the UK, both economically and politically, so what is keeping other EU members from doing the same?