What is the Brexit?

POLITICS

All you need to know about the UK’s EU referendum. (BBC)

What is the EU? Use our resources to find out.

Educators, scroll down for a quick list of key resources in our Teachers’ Toolkit.

The European Union currently has 28 member states. The United Kingdom has the second-largest GDP (behind Germany), and the second-largest population (behind Germany and France). Map by Ssolbergj, courtesy Wikimedia. CC-BY-SA-3.0

The European Union currently has 28 member states. The United Kingdom has the EU’s second-largest GDP (behind Germany), and the second-largest population (behind Germany and France).
Map by Ssolbergj, courtesy Wikimedia. CC-BY-SA-3.0

Discussion Ideas

  • What is the Brexit?
    • “Brexit” is a portmanteau (mashup) of the words “British” and “exit.” Brexit refers to the possible departure of the United Kingdom from the European Union.
    • The Brexit referendum is a single question: “Should the United Kingdom remain a member of the European Union or leave the European Union?”

 

  • What is the European Union? Here’s a good intro.
    • The European Union (EU) is an economic and political association of 28 European nations promoting free trade, ease of transportation, and cultural and political links.
    • The capital of the EU is Brussels, Belgium. The president of the European Commission is Jean-Claude Juncker (from Luxembourg). The president of the European Council is Donald Tusk (from Poland).
    • The EU has its own elected parliament that establishes rules and regulations on such issues as the environment, transportation, consumer rights and even things like mobile phone charges. The current president of the European Parliament is Martin Schulz (from Germany).
    • The EU has its own unit of currency, the euro. The 19 EU members that use the euro are called the eurozone. The United Kingdom is not a part of the eurozone.
    • Here’s a nice explainer on how the EU budget works.

 

 

 

 

 

The social, political, and monetary policies of the European Union have far-reaching impacts. Map by Alexrk2, courtesy Wikimedia. CC-BY-SA-3.0

The social, political, and monetary policies of the European Union have far-reaching impacts.
Map by Alexrk2, courtesy Wikimedia. CC-BY-SA-3.0

  • Why is the Brexit an important issue?
    • The UK is a vital part of the European Union. It is the group’s second-largest economy (second only to the German powerhouse) and third-most-populous (behind Germany and France).
    • According to USA Today, “It creates vast uncertainty for the EU at time when it is beset by a number of major problems including a so-far insurmountable migration crisis, an unpredictable and increasingly interventionist Russia on its eastern flank and the prospect of more organized Paris-inspired militant attacks, often by its own nationals.”
    • EU policies extend far beyond Europe. Overseas territories of both the UK and EU dot the globe, and are lucrative sites for tourism and business.

 

  • What are the alternatives to Britain simply leaving the EU or staying in it? The first question here might help.
    • The Norwegian model: Britain leaves the EU and joins the European Economic Area, giving it access to the single market, with the exception of some financial services, but freeing it from EU rules on agriculture, fisheries, justice and home affairs.
    • The Swiss model: Britain emulates Switzerland, which is not a member of the EU but negotiates trade treaties on a sector-by-sector basis.
    • The Turkish model: The UK could enter into a customs union with the EU, allowing access to the free market in manufactured goods but not financial services.
    • The Canadian model: The UK could seek to negotiate a comprehensive Free Trade Agreement with the EU, which would eliminate trade barriers in most areas but does not require free movement or budgetary contributions.

 

  • Has this ever happened before?
    • No. No country has ever left the EU, and in fact there is a waiting list to get in: Albania, Macedonia, Montenegro, Serbia, and Turkey are all current candidates.
    • At the height of Greece’s financial crisis, it debated leaving both the eurozone and EU. (And yes, the situation was called the “Grexit.”) It is still a member of both.

 

  • Who will be eligible to vote?
    • All British, Irish, and Commonwealth citizens over 18 who are resident in the United Kingdom will be allowed to vote in the referendum. All UK nationals who have lived overseas for less than 15 years will also be allowed to vote.

 

  • When will the referendum be?
    • Thursday, June 23.

 

TEACHERS’ TOOLKIT

BBC: The UK’s EU referendum: All you need to know

BBC: UK and the EU: Better off out or in?

USA Today: Explainer: The what, when and why of ‘Brexit’

The Week: EU referendum: pros and cons of Britain leaving Europe

CNN Money: UK election: The pros and cons of a ‘Brexit’

CNN Money: Brexit: The big numbers you need to know

Nat Geo: Maastricht Treaty Creates European Union

2 responses to “What is the Brexit?

  1. Pingback: What does the Brexit vote mean, and what happens now? | Nat Geo Education Blog·

  2. So today is the referendum… Hope for good for UK… So let’s see UK would be member of EU or not?

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s