Brexit deal is finalized by the E.U. and U.K.

After decades of referendums, debates, and negotiations, the E.U. and the U.K. finally reach an agreement.


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The official flag of the United Kingdom is shown through the official flag of the European Union. On Jan. 31, the U.K. officially exited the E.U.

On Jan. 31, the United Kingdom (U.K.) officially exited the European Union (E.U.).  Although Brexit has been a tough subject for several years, the U.K. and E.U. came to a tentative agreement and entered a transition period during which trade agreements, regulation of medicines, law enforcement, etc. would be outlined. 

Brexit is a portmanteau of “Britain” and “exit.” Brexit has been in progress for nearly a half-century, beginning in 1975 when Britain held a referendum asking citizens of the U.K. if they wanted the U.K. to stay in the E.U.  Although 67 percent voted “yes,” the Labour Party was split over the issue of Brexit and it would take nearly 50 years for Brexit to actually happen.

“(One reason for Brexit) is the (issue of) immigrants, particularly in the south of England,” physics teacher and former U.K.-resident Caroline Stilwell said. “Britain is basically a welfare state, which means that once you’re on British turf, then you get free education, free healthcare, free retirement, and (the welfare system) just couldn’t support that amount of new people coming in who are entitled to all of those privileges instantly.”

Another major reason why many U.K. residents voted to leave the E.U. in the current economic state of the E.U. and Europe. According to Forbes, a major argument for exiting the E.U. was “the alternative was economic disaster” for Britain.

Stilwell also believes that a cultural difference in the culture of European countries foreshadowed Brexit. 

“In Europe, there are such different countries with different cultures, it means some, typically the northern countries, are really hardworking and the southern countries are really relaxed,” Stilwell said. “And the way that the E.U. is set up is the northern countries basically fund the southern countries lifestyle, which causes a lot of irritation.” 

Among other reasons for the split, Stilwell cites changes in the E.U.’s relationship with European countries.

“I don’t know that the E.U., in its current state, can really keep going,” Stilwell said. “It was formed when I was a student. And at the time, it was about open borders, and (the E.U.) wasn’t pushing it as one monetary system. (The U.K.) evolved into wanting to be more like America with that degree of autonomy. And a lot of countries never really felt that’s what (the E.U.) asked for when they signed up to support the E.U.”

Junior Oash Baniya believes that the U.K.’s political climate ultimately led to Brexit.

“I think a lot of people don’t feel like they are being represented by their political parties, Baniya said. “People feel like they’re not getting answers from the politicians.”

Ultimately, Brexit is a huge decision for all parties involved.  Because the E.U. was built as a single market, trading between the U.S., Britain, and other European countries will change.  Brexit may also influence other European nations’ decisions in trying to leave the E.U.

“I think the fact that the British parliament, didn’t follow through the will of the people has made it look very messy,” Stilwell said. “And I think it has shown a lot of European countries that thought about (leaving the E.U.), that maybe it’s not worth it. I think Europe did a good job to make an example of Britain.”