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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 relationship” with 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.
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Where did Brexit come from? | CNBC Explains

393 Folder Collection
robert published on December 16, 2018    Jerry Liu translated    Evangeline reviewed
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