On June 23, 2016, the citizens of the United Kingdom shocked the political world by voting in support of a referendum for their nation to withdraw from the European Union.
Nine months later, on March 29, 2017, the prime minister of Britain officially filed the papers that would trigger this momentous exit, colloquially known as Brexit.
“Prime Minister Theresa May formally began Britain’s divorce from the European Union on Wednesday, saying there was ‘no turning back’ from a decision pitching her country into the unknown and triggering years of fraught negotiations,” Reuters reported.
There was just one catch: May reportedly has “two years to settle the terms of the divorce before it comes into effect in late March 2019.” And these are not easy terms to negotiate, as she needs to work out deals with 27 EU member states.
Complicating the matter was that May wanted “to conduct parallel discussions to preserve bargaining power,” whereas the European Union sought to settle the split first, according to Bloomberg. Specifically, the British prime minister hoped to acquire a sweeping free-trade deal that would encompass financial services.
Whether or not she would be successful at negotiating what she wanted remained unknown, though May promised Wednesday that she would do everything in her power to provide her constituents with what they needed.
“When I sit around the negotiating table in the months ahead, I will represent every person in the whole United Kingdom — young and old, rich and poor, city, town, country and all the villages and hamlets in between,” she said.
Of special concern was how May would approach the issue of immigration, which played a huge role in spurring the populace to vote for Brexit.
“The topic of migration has been central to the referendum debate,” the Migration Policy Institute noted in a report published before the historic Brexit vote. “For an astonishing nine consecutive months, voters have identified immigration as among the most important issues facing Britain.”
Like their peers in a number of other European nations, the Brits were fed up with their communities being flooded by sometimes ungrateful and violent migrants. Unlike their counterparts on the continent, however, the British people decided to take action. And having done that, they’re now finally on the path toward true freedom.
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