Let’s all admit that 2016 was not a year to look back upon gratefully. The U.S. went through so many political issues and events itself that most Americans were not aware of their neighboring countries. With that being said, it’s important to bring Brexit up front again. We’ve all heard about it and most of us have a basic understanding of it, but what’s happening now after eight months since the referendum?
To recap what Brexit was all about, this event occurred when Britain held a referendum, or a voting, on whether they should remain or leave the EU. In addition to this dramatic exit, Britain received a new Prime Minister, Theresa May, who took over David Cameron’s place after he resigned. While May agreed with Cameron against leaving the EU, she decided to take the stand and keep an “open mind” to lead to a negotiable approach.
More recently, on Jan. 17, May gave a speech to several diplomats at London’s Lancaster House. This was where she promised to work with the Brexit agreement, accepting that Britain will leave the single market membership. The Independent recorded her speech last Tuesday with her objectives for her main goal, creating a peaceful partnership between Britain and the European Union.
“We are about to enter a negotiation. That means there will be give and take. There will have to be compromises. It will require imagination on both sides, and not everybody will be able to know everything at every stage. But I recognize how important it is to provide business, the public sector and everybody with as much certainty as possible as we move through the process. So where we can offer that certainty, we will do so.”
A stronger Britain
“That means taking control of our own affairs, as those who voted in their millions to leave the European Union, demanded we must. Because we will not have truly left the European Union if we are not in control of our own laws.”
Strengthen the union of U.K.
“As we do so, our guiding principle must be to ensure that, as we leave the European Union, no new barriers to living and doing business within our own Union are created. That means maintaining the necessary common standards and frameworks for our own domestic market, empowering the U.K. as an open trading nation to strike the best trade deals around the world and protecting the common resources of our islands.”
Maintain common travel with Ireland
“There has been a Common Travel Area between the UK and the Republic of Ireland for many years. Indeed, it was formed before either of our two countries were members of the European Union, and the family ties and bonds of affection that unite our two countries mean that there will always be a special relationship between us. So we will work to deliver a practical solution that allows the maintenance of the Common Travel Area with the Republic, while protecting the integrity of the United Kingdom’s immigration system.”
Control of immigration
“We will continue to attract the brightest and the best to work or study in Britain – indeed, openness, to international talent must remain one of this country’s most distinctive assets – but that process must be managed properly so that our immigration system serves the national interest. Because while controlled immigration can bring great benefits – filling skills shortages, delivering public services, making British businesses the world-beaters they often are – when the numbers get too high, public support for the system falters. Britain is an open and tolerant country. We will always want immigration, especially high-skilled immigration, we will always want immigration from Europe, and we will always welcome individual migrants as friends. But the message from the public before and during the referendum campaign was clear; Brexit must mean control of the number of people who come to Britain from Europe. And that is what we will deliver.”
Rights for EU nationals in Britain, and vice versa
“Fairness demands that we deal with another issue as soon as possible too. We want to guarantee the rights of EU citizens who are already living in Britain and the rights of British nationals in other member states, as early as we can.”
Protect workers’ rights
“Indeed, under my leadership, not only will the Government protect the rights of workers’ set out in European legislation, we will build on them. Because under this Conservative Government, we will make sure legal protection for workers keeps pace with the changing labor market, and that the voices of workers are heard by the boards of publicly-listed companies for the first time.”
Free trade with European markets
“We will pursue a bold and ambitious Free Trade Agreement with the European Union. This agreement should allow for the freest possible trade in goods and services between Britain and the EU’s member states. It should give British companies the maximum freedom to trade with and operate within European markets, and let European businesses do the same in Britain.”
New global trade agreements
“Since joining the EU, trade as a percentage of GDP has broadly stagnated in the U.K. That is why it is time for Britain to get out into the world and rediscover its role as a great global trading nation. And those ends are clear: I want to remove as many barriers to trade as possible. And I want Britain to be free to establish our own tariff schedules at the World Trade Organization, meaning we can reach new trade agreements not just with the European Union but with old friends and new allies from outside Europe, too.”
Science and innovation
“One of our great strengths as a nation is the breadth and depth of our academic and scientific communities, backed up by some of the world’s best universities. And we have a proud history of leading and supporting cutting-edge research and innovation. So we will also welcome agreement to continue to collaborate with our European partners on major science, research and technology initiatives.”
Fight against crime and terrorism
“All of us in Europe face the challenge of cross-border crime, a deadly terrorist threat and the dangers presented by hostile states. All of us share interests and values in common, values we want to see projected around the world. With the threats to our common security becoming more serious, our response cannot be to cooperate with one another less, but to work together more. I therefore want our future relationship with the European Union to include practical arrangements on matters of law enforcement and the sharing of intelligence material with our EU allies.”
A smooth, orderly Brexit
“A partnership of friends and allies, of interests and values. A partnership for a strong EU and a strong UK. I want us to have reached an agreement about our future partnership by the time the two-year Article Fifty process has concluded. From that point onwards, we believe a phased process of implementation, in which both Britain and the EU institutions and member states prepare for the new arrangements that will exist between us will be in our mutual self-interest. This will give businesses enough time to plan and prepare for those new arrangements. This is the framework of a deal that will herald a new partnership between the UK and the EU.”
Overall, Theresa believes that her approaches to shaping Brexit will lead to a promising future, renovating Britain into a stronger, fairer and more globalized country. While her objectives may take up to two years to be approved by the Parliament because of Article 50, she feels confident that by the end of March, Britain may appeal Article 50 and officially leave the EU. Although this is a slow and complicated process, May hopes to recreate a better Britain for future generations. As she explained in her closing speech, Britain will “look back at this time, they will judge us not only by the decision that we made, but by what we made of that decision.”