NEWS COMMENTARY ON UK’S STRUGGLES TO EXIT FROM THE EU AND ITS EFFECTS
For about two years now, the entire World has been bombarded with ‘Brexit’. Indeed, it has virtually become a household word. It is all about Britain’s decision to leave the 28-member European Union, EU which the Kingdom has been a member since 1973. With its inability to clinch a deal as required by law to leave by the 29th of last March, Britain has come face to face with the most political turmoil in recent times. The country is now faced with imbalanced political decision, sharp national division and very bleak future as whether to continue to be a member of the EU or to go solo on the European continent by way of economic and political endeavours.
The 2008 financial crises that hit Europe created huge migration challenges. A situation, which resulted in an intra-EU migration of which, Britain was and still being the biggest recipient of migrants. Huge number of EU citizens migrated to the UK giving it huge migration issues which infuriated the citizenry. Many Brits were of the view that the influx of foreigners was having deep economic implications on the country. This led to agitations for a referendum for Britain to leave the EU.
The said referendum went for those who wanted the country to leave. The then Prime Minister Mr. David Cameron resigned over the national decision and former Home Secretary, Theresa May, took the mantle. In October 2016, she invoked Article 50 of the Treaty on European Union, formally giving notice of Britain’s intention to leave the EU. Beside the huge size of the UK’s ‘divorce bill’ with the EU of about £39 billion, there are still other huge hurdles for the UK to overcome which includes, over £9 billion payment per annum into the EU budget within the years of the negotiation.
The controversial new temporary customs union after Brexit, the issue of a single market for the UK without being an EU member, trade, cyber security, terrorism, common fisheries and agricultural policies, the Northern Ireland’s 310-mile border with the Republic of Ireland, aviation rights, farming, and legal sovereignty as well as citizens’ rights are among issues confronting Brexit negotiators. After failing to secure the blessing of the House of Commons for the third time before the exit deadline of 29th March 2019, and the fourth time on the 1st of April, Mrs. May’s task appears so much insurmountable.
She is now considering yet another attempt to present satisfying negotiation outcomes to the Commons for approval, which will also have to meet the desires of the EU. For now the future of Britain is. unclear. There are only two options. The country has to push for a deal or parliament amend the laws for Britain to remain in the EU, a situation that may call for an early national snap elections. Now Brexit is due to happen on 12 April but the House of Commons are to debate a proposal of a new law, which could compel the Prime Minister to seek a longer extension to Article 50 which will again delay the process. In case, Theresa May is able to clinch a deal to lead Britain out of the EU, trade, commerce and economic ties of The Great Britain will sharply change the focus around the globe.
Obviously, Britain will have to look for new trade and economic partners and also strengthen the already existing ones outside the EU. Britain’s economy has over the years been chiefly depended on market-orientated lines. Therefore, it will need stronger market coalition to develop and sustain its economy, which is the fifth-largest economy in the world today. As the Prime Minister May announced during her speech in South Africa, last year “the UK’s ambition is to be the G7’s number one investor in Africa by 2022,” The big question is can UK trade with Africa and Ghana for that matter to fill the gap that will be left if the Brexit deal goes through? Time will surely tell.
By Nana Sifa Twum- Ghanaian Communications Consultant Based in the UK.