Brexit: Large Numbers at Stake
Story By: Sia Cho Editor: Kate Lee Web Designer: Andrew Song
On June 23, the fate of Britain’s membership in the European Union (EU) is to be settled by a referendum, concluding with one of the two possible outcomes: to remain in the EU, or to leave it. The vote, which will take place in the UK, will be between the two sides of the pro-exit citizens and the citizens who are opposed to the exit. While both sides have opinions of their own, the numbers show how much is at stake if a British exit—or Brexit—were to occur.
Breaking away from a collective European identity can mean giving up influence in Europe, while jeopardizing trade relations with the EU at the same time. Currently, 5% of British exports —worth £230 billion ($329 billion)—end up in other EU member states, while 53% of imports to the UK that are worth £289 billion ($413 billion) come from the bloc (cnn.com). This trade generates and maintains a huge number of jobs, with 3.4 million British jobs depending on the exports to the EU, according to the data by the European Institute. This means that with Brexit, all these large numbers are at risk, with Britain conceivably facing a possibility of negative effects on its economy and position.
“All they are offering is risk at a time of uncertainty – a leap in the dark,” said David Cameron, current prime minister of the UK. “I do not believe that would be right for Britain.”
However, Britain may not be the only country impacted by the withdrawal. With the island being one of the “Big Three” nation-states in Europe, its departure may bring major ramifications to Europe—both politically and economically. Higher tariffs and costs may be a result (theguardian.com), since the other EU countries depend on countries like Britain to sustain low interest rate loans and on their banks to provide for them in times of crisis. The Brexit could also mean the start to a chain reaction of EU membership withdrawals, which would result in the collapse of the organization and the current operations that it is running. “I feel like [Brexit] could be a big turning point for the EU, because Britain is one of the keystones of the whole organization,” said David Suh (8). “Once Britain leaves the EU, it is possible that other counties will follow suite, and maybe even break down the EU to its foundations.”