By Yanay Rosen (Online Editor-in-Chief).
The European Union may not survive its latest challenge.
Britain will vote on leaving the EU on June 23rd. The initiative, called Brexit, is one of a series of challenges facing the EU. Economic challenges in major members like Portugal, Italy, Ireland, Greece and Spain have necessitated billions of dollars in bailouts.
The Syrian Refugee crisis has also stressed a core tenant of the EU, its open borders. Refugees allowed in one member state can travel freely to other members who may not want them. In response to rising refugee populations, and a number of terrorist attacks, nationalism is rising.
Think Tank Open Europe says that the worst case scenario for Britain would be a 2 percent loss in GDP by 2030; however, Britain could also see up to a 1.6% rise.
The Economist says that Britain could remain in the European Economic Area, thus maintaining free trade. However, EEA countries do not have a vote in regulatory matters, so Britain would lose representation.
Although conservative prime minister David Cameron is opposed to Brexit, his party is the main supporter of the referendum.
“A vote to leave is the gamble of the century,” said the Prime Minister.
Boris Johnson, a leader of the Brexit movement and the mayor of London, says that the Britain has a bad deal with the EU.
“I would like to see a new relationship based more on trade and cooperation. I want a better deal for the people of this country to save them money and to take back control. So I will be advocating Vote Leave.”
“My starting point is simple. I believe the decisions governing our lives, the laws we must obey and the taxes we must pay should be decided by people we choose — and can throw out.”
Cameron directly responded to Johnson. “I would say to Boris what I say to everybody else, which is that we will be safer, we’ll be stronger, we’ll be better off inside the EU. If Boris and if others really care about being able to get things done in our world then the EU is one of the ways.”
President Obama is strongly against the Brexit proposal. “Speaking honestly, the outcome of that decision is a matter of deep interest to the United States because it affects our prospects as well,” he told BBC interviewers on a visit to London.
Obama also says it could take up to a decade to implement a trade deal with a post-EU Britain. “The U.K. would not be able to negotiate something with the United States faster than the EU. It could be five years from now, 10 years from now before we were able to actually get something done,” he said.
Lawmaker Chris Grayling says Obama’s comments are ridiculous. “This is a case of political positioning trumping reality and is a million miles away from the facts on the ground. The United States reached deals with Canada and Australia in two years so no one will seriously believe it will take five times as long to conclude a U.K. deal.”