Initial thoughts on Brexit
As news come in about the outcome of the Brexit referendum in the UK, it is time for us to take a step back and think about the implications this bring about to us travelers.
As it’s already become evident, the British Pound is falling like a rock. As of time of posting, it’s fallen over 12% against the US dollar. It is worth noting that this drop is on track to be the worst in history for the British Pound since its inception. And while is great for all of us not in the UK, since it will be much cheaper, it will definitely hurt the British economy and make it harder for them to travel abroad as well. Since it is extremely uncertain as of yet the intricacies of how the exit would be implemented and what it would take to do so, since no other member country has ever left the Union, markets will undoubtedly be volatile while all of these issues are sorted out.
The loosening of restrictions and more competition between airlines originally opened hundreds of new routes and spurred dozens of airlines in the past decades. With the UK exiting the European Union, all of these agreements are in potential jeopardy as they would most likely need to be renegotiated and there is not guarantee that the terms will be as favorable.
Immigration and Free Movement
Another huge topic of contention is certainly the ease of movement that has been achieved with all of the EU multilateral agreements that allow UK-EU citizens to freely move across borders for both tourism, business and for permanent relocation in other member states. With the withdrawal of the UK from the European Union, it has been argued, for example that British immigrants living in other EU countries would essentially become illegal immigrants from one day to the next. If the UK suddenly loses all of its EU immigrants, it is safe to assume the British workforce will be at risk of becoming noncompetitive and priced out of certain industries.
Over half of all British goods are exported to the EU. Exiting the Union could mean that they now need to face tougher tariffs and stricter regulations that are imposed on goods imported from countries outside of the European Union, thus taking a hit in the bottom line.
As it stands, it is hard for me to understand how the UK’s exit of the European Union would bring any of the extra freedoms the proponents of Brexit have been arguing for.
As a EU citizen, I am lucky to be able to enjoy many of those benefits, ranging from international visa waivers, to free movement within the EU, to pension and retirement benefits, subsidized healthcare and education opportunities in many of the EU member states.
Having said that, the referendum simply expresses the will of the British people to depart from the EU and does not in any way mean they have already stopped being part of it. The actual implementation of an exit is much more complicated and will most likely happen over a period of a few years, in which the UK, as well as the EU itself will have to pass, repeal otherwise amend the laws that would permit such a transition. These are my initial thoughts as I’m trying to process the news just coming in, we’ll just have to wait and see how it develops.
Do you have any other ideas on how this would personally affect you and the way you travel?