On June 23rd, the British public will face one of the toughest decisions of their lives.Voters will go to the polls to decide whether or not Britain will remain as part of the European Union. The UK’s future economic landscape, government policies and initiatives, trade agreements and alliances could come under pressure depending on which side of the coin, this spinning debate settles on, exit or remain.
The EU is an economic and political affiliation between 28 nations sharing the same interest. Historically, U.K. citizens have always been sceptical of the EU. However, this distrust has never matured enough to instigate the country to opt for a breakout from the consortium, until now.
What is Brexit?
While the British public is considering whether or not there should be an exit from the EU, their voice will be heard loud and clear with the outcome of ‘in/out’ referendum next week. The opportunity to express an opinion on this contentious matter sees the U.K on the brink of a paradigm shift which could go either way economically, only time will tell. Some commentators are predicting that the UK could lose 2.2% of its total GDP by 2030. During the recession years betweenn2008-2009 the UK economy shrunk by 6%.There is significant momentum gathering behind the
Some commentators are predicting that the UK could lose 2.2% of its total GDP by 2030. During the recession years 2008-2009 the UK economy shrunk by 6%.There is significant momentum gathering behind the EU exit campaign which is aimed at giving Britain the freedom to manage its own affairs and end the central control by Brussels.
With a population of over 500 million, the EU is currently made up of 28 member states out of which 19 share the same currency. When Britain joined the EU (which was then the European Economic Community) in 1975, it was just a “Common Market” of nine member states which had a population of about 250 million.
Today, the EU can no longer be considered as a mere trading arrangement as it has undergone drastic transformation to become a fully-fledged union. This has given Brussels influence over many other areas of policy. So far, the debate has been characterised by distortion, bias and exaggeration with just about 10 days to go before the possibly historic vote on British membership of the EU.
What About the Referendum?
Claims from Eurosceptics about an unacceptable transfer of powers from the Parliament to Brussels which now represents membership have called for another vote to consider how things have changed ever since the Maastricht Treaty of 1992 was signed.
In a bid to concentrate on his domestic reform agenda and minimise the influence of the anti-Europeans among members of parliament, Prime Minister David Cameron hopes that necessity and presence of Lib Dem support for the Coalition would help him achieve the feat.
After securing a deal with other European leaders at a crunch summit in February, Prime Minister David Cameron announced that the in/out referendum on Britain’s membership of the EU will be held on Thursday, June 23.
According to reports, it was set in order to avoid the stirring up of more Eurosceptic feelings among the British people, the Government decided to hold the vote before the commencement of the summer migration crises.
Will The Referendum Determine The Final Word On The Matter?
Some members of the British public are wondering whether Brussels would be prompted to come up with a big new offer that could keep the U.K. in the EU on terms that are quite different such as restrictions on immigration if a victory for Leave is obtained. While referring to it as a “once in a generation, once in a lifetime” decision, Mr. Cameron has ruled out plans for a second referendum.
However, in the meantime, both parties are of the opinion that the decision of the British people on 23 June will surely be final. Having said that, trusted Irish economist, David McWilliams maintains that after an initial wobble the Uk will fair well. As an economic giant in its own right, being the sixth largest economy in the world, the UK will continue to prosper with strong growth expected in the finance and technology sectors set to continue.
The Impact of Brexit on the Irish Economy
Although the noise about Brexit has been increasing for quite some time now, the Brexit ‘fear’ is beginning to become a reality for many worried voters as the referendum deadline day draws near, presenting a widening gap between the ‘Yays’ and ‘Nays’. According to recent opinion polls there has been a recent swing towards the ‘Exit’ campaign, holding an increasing majority of 46% against 36% for the ‘Stay’ campaign. 11% of voters are still undecided, while a minority 4% will abstain from voting. The undecideds ‘referendum day’ choice could very well be the deciding factor as the tally reaches a definitive conclusion.
What the Media Says
Debate has grown in the UK media focusing on both sides of the argument. In recent days the Sun newspaper has sided with the Exit campaign, running the headline, BeLEAVE in Britain as a front cover article. This debate has grabbed headlines and populated column inches in the Irish Media also, but focusing more on the potential exit outcome and the impact it would have on with the Irish Economy.
To this end, the Irish government is not shying away from making its voice heard. According to one senior government source, it would be irresponsible for the Irish government to shy away. In a bid to prepare for either outcome in the referendum, the Irish Government has been monitoring the situation closely behind the scenes for two years now.
But what will be the ramifications for Ireland if Britain leaves the EU?
If the UK parts company with the EU, officials are pretty worried about the ramifications. If it were not for the referendum, the minority Irish government would want its nearest neighbours to remain within the union. While a new deal between the EU and Britain is been brokered, arguably, a Brexit could lead to years of uncertainty between Irish and UK enterprise.
According to a recent declaration from Taoiseach Enda Kenny, a Brexit would likely have an adverse effect on trade between the two countries. According to him, there will be a need for serious negotiations, between both governments of the two jurisdictions due to a possible return of border or custom controls.
Taoiseach promotes a Remain Vote
Taoiseach Kenny will travel to Liverpool and meet with Irish groups to try and lobby for a Remain vote. He will also meet with business leaders and community groups in Manchester and appeal to them to also push for a Remain vote. Kenny was due to meet with David Cameron during his prompt visit to the UK but this meeting has now been cancelled due to Camerons tight schedule.
Irelands Influence on the Referendum
At home in Ireland, Minister for Social Protection Leo Varadkar is asking UK born residents who live in Ireland to vote against a Brexit. During the census of 2011, this group amounted to 288,000 ex-pats living in various parts of the Irish Republic. In the UK, there are almost 500,000 Irish-born residents who are eligible to vote in next week’s referendum, therefore, Ireland will play a vital role in whether the UK or not the United Kingdom remain in the EU.
On this side of the Irish Sea, the impact of a Brexit for Ireland whether it be a positive or negative one is the main issue grabbing the headlines. According to George Osborne, a British chancellor, an exit is more likely to bring about a “profound economic shock.”
Impact on Trade
From an Irish perspective, there could be a possible windfall from a Brexit. Although Irish exports and industries are more likely to become less competitive, Ireland would become the only English native-speaking member state in the EU. However, this could make it a more attractive location for foreign direct investment (FDI).
Increase in Foreign Direct Investment?
As we are always open to foreign investment in Ireland and with large corporations such as Google, Apple, Microsoft, Facebook locating their European Headquarters and operations here, it could open up channels of opportunity to increase the Irish workforce and stimulate growth in the economy even further.
Benefits for SMEs in Ireland?
Small to medium sized Irish companies such as Advance Systems Ireland could benefit from a redirection of FDI. As the economy grows at a similar rate to what we are experiencing now, SME’s revenues will grow at comparative rates throughout the Island.
With many companies in Ireland enjoying free trade with the UK and not forgetting the high employment between the two neighbours, it’s easy to forget that the ramifications of a hard brexit could have an effect on future employment of British citizens in Ireland. Advance Systems have recently launched their highly acclaimed Applicant Tracking System that manages such cross territory employment, offering online interviews and relevant services.
Listening to both sides of the argument can lead to confusion as each party do have valid concerns regarding remaining or exiting the EU. It is really difficult to say whether a Brexit will have an adverse effect on the Irish Economy, however, Britain remains as our main trading partner. We export almost half of our agricultural yield to the UK each year, helping to feed some of their 60 million plus population. Our guess is, that if a Brexit is on the cards, the British public like now and always will still need feeding.