International Event: Britain’s Decision to Leave the EU

A while ago, Dr. Mitchell Smith gave a presentation about Brexit in which he discussed the reasons for why the leave campaign was successful, the impact that the Brexit decision had in the world, and the exit process that will unfold in the coming years. Dr. Smith explained that the leave campaign was run off anti-establishment and anti-immigration sentiments. In his lecture, Dr. Smith shared images of propaganda that was used throughout the campaign such as the claim that Turkey would join the EU and that Syrian refugees would flood into EU member countries from Turkey if Britain stayed in the EU. In addition, Dr. Mitchell discussed the predicted repercussions of the Brexit decision. Some economists estimate that in 15 years, the British GDP will be about 7.5 percent less than if the UK had not decided to leave the EU. Finally, Dr. Mitchell discussed the process by which the UK will leave the EU. Next spring, negotiations between the EU and the UK will commence and will last for about two years. The main question over the negotiation period is whether the UK will pursue a “hard Brexit” or a “soft Brexit.” A hard Brexit would most likely see the UK leave the single market of the European Union while under a soft Brexit, the UK would still be a part of the single market, however, it would have to maintain open borders where EU citizens could flow freely into the UK. Clearly, the decision of whether to remain in the single market will be extremely divisive over the two-year negotiation period. After finishing his lecture, Dr. Mitchell opened up the floor for questions. The first questioned to be asked, of course, was whether the referendum is reversible. Dr. Mitchell explained how technically, the referendum is reversible, however, to do so would undermine democracy and the will of the people.

Overall, I’m really glad that I attended this event because although I already had a fair amount of knowledge about Brexit, hearing in person about it from a professional at OU was really interesting. Dr. Mitchell brought up several points that I had not considered before and he also provided some predictions about how Brexit will unfold over the coming years.

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