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  • Who hasn't heard of Brexit?

  • The U.K.'s decision to leave the European Union has dominated debates here in Parliament,

  • discussions at work, dinners with friends, and much of the media coverage.

  • The Brexit vote has shaken modern politics forever, with the U.K. set to be the first country to leave the Union.

  • But after more than 40 years of membership, how did we get here?

  • We need to rewind back to 1961 when the U.K. applied to be a member of the European Union for the first time.

  • Back then, the block was called the European Economic Community, otherwise known as the common market.

  • Its aim was to bring about economic integration.

  • But the U.K.'s inclusion in the common market faced some opposition from within the group, mainly from the French.

  • President Charles de Gaulle vetoed the U.K.'s application in 1963 and again in 1967.

  • He doubted Britain's commitment to the union's political objectives

  • and believed its economy wasn't compatible with those of its six existing members.

  • The U.K.'s “special relationshipwith the U.S. was also a concern for him,

  • worrying the partnership would get in the way of building a strong Europe.

  • But in 1969 France elected a new president and the U.K. succeeded in joining the group in 1973.

  • But just two years after joining, the U.K. held a referendum on whether it should remain in the European Economic Community.

  • Back then, 67% of voters favored continued membership.

  • In the years that followed, the European Union transformed from a trade arrangement to more of a political alliance, giving Brussels increasing influence over other areas of policy.

  • But the U.K. was still able to negotiate with the European Union on the terms of its ongoing membership.

  • In 1984 Margaret Thatcher managed to broker a deal, commonly referred to as the rebate,

  • which reduced the U.K.'s financial contribution to the European budget by billions.

  • This arrangement was exclusive to the U.K. and is still in place today.

  • The U.K. has also benefited from so-called opt-outs,

  • which essentially means the U.K. does not have to participate in certain European policies.

  • For example, the U.K. didn't join the Schengen Area in 1985, maintaining a border that has passport controls.

  • The U.K. also opted out of a monetary union in 1992, keeping its currency, the pound sterling, instead of the euro.

  • The introduction of the euro was part of a wide-ranging agreement called the Maastricht Treaty.

  • Signed by the U.K. along with 11 other member states, it expanded the EU's remit as an economic community to include foreign affairs, justice and policing.

  • Ultimately it was the framework for the modern EU, but for Eurosceptics,

  • it was an unacceptable transfer of powers from the U.K. parliament to Brussels and threatened further divisions in the Conservative government.

  • However, a long period of economic growth under pro-European Prime Ministers maintained enough support for the EU and the single market,

  • meaning that calls for another EU referendum were put on the backburner for nearly 20 years.

  • Nonetheless, there was growing dissatisfaction with the level of bureaucracy in Europe.

  • In 2004, the entry of 10 new countries into the EU also led to more questions in the U.K. about the country's level of immigration.

  • In the 10 years that followed, the number of EU migrants living in the U.K. almost doubled.

  • This, along with the fall in household incomes after the 2008 financial crash, has been seen by some as contributing to a groundswell of resentment toward European migrants,

  • something that the major political parties were slow to recognize and respond to.

  • As a result, support for the anti-European party UKIP and its leader Nigel Farage started to grow rapidly.

  • By 2014 some surveys suggested that the party was being supported by up to 16% of the electorate.

  • Many Conservative party candidates were concerned about their supporters switching allegiance to UKIP

  • and pleaded with Prime Minister David Cameron to promise an EU referendum in his campaign manifesto.

  • To avoid the risk of defections from within his own party,

  • he did and the Conservatives won the election with an overall majority.

  • As divisions within the party started to become more evident, Cameron promised a referendum by the end of 2017.

  • But first, he tried re-negotiating with the EU some of the terms of Britain's membership.

  • He emerged from the talks with a deal, but that wasn't enough to convince Eurosceptics.

  • For many, the process gave the impression that Brussels was inflexible and unwilling to make big concessions to keep Britain in the union.

  • So Prime Minister David Cameron had to deliver on his manifesto promise and set a date for a referendum,

  • the 23rd June 2016 with a simple question, whether to remain in or leave the European Union.

  • And I will go to Parliament and propose that the British people decide our future in Europe.

  • Hi guys, thank you so much for watching.

  • If you want to see more of our videos, then check out these.

  • And do let us know your thoughts on Brexit by commenting below the video.

  • And don't forget to subscribe.

Who hasn't heard of Brexit?

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B1 INT UK european eu union referendum european union membership

Where did Brexit come from? | CNBC Explains

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    robert   posted on 2018/12/16
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