Abroad

The United Kingdom will begin leaving the EU on March 29

When the Brexit vote happened, it shocked the United Kingdom, the European Union and the rest of the world, but it was a particularly nasty shock for London. More than half of Londoners voted to remain, although England as a whole voted for Brexit, according to the BBC.

Following the results of the referendum and the swift resignation of former prime minister David Cameron, a lot changed within the state and its various countries. Theresa May was appointed prime minister and the changes started.

In February, the Brexit bill was passed by the Parliament, giving the government the power to officially appeal to Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty, which would allow the United Kingdom to officially withdraw from the European Union. Prime Minister Theresa May then announced the official date of the divorce as March 29. On Wednesday, the country’s two-year process to leave the European Union commences.

Although the split from the European Union has arrived, British citizens must accept their country’s fate and live with it.

Bogusia Wojciechowska, lecturer of Intercultural Communications at Syracuse’s London center, voted to remain and said she would never have been able to foresee the result of the referendum.

“I am still in shock,” she said.

According to Wojciechowska, March 29 is an incidental event that makes people within the country feel that “we might as well get this over and done with.” To her, the main issue lies in how the government is going to deal with this surprising turn of events. While it’s unlikely, it is possible the government will ultimately decide not to leave the European Union.

Wojciechowska believes officials favor an efficient exit from the European Union, and that it’s better than a hasty and rushed exit. To her, March 29 is “a nod to progress,” where she thinks talks will focus on deal-making and rebuilding trade links more than anything else.

“I keep thinking of the nerve of the U.K. believing it has the right to a goodie bag when leaving the party,” Wojciechowska said. “The U.K. believes itself to be in a strong position with respect to the EU. Most of the EU is mightily vexed by the U.K.’s decision to leave. But, if they’re going to leave then let them get out cleanly and painlessly. Let the EU continue to flourish without the U.K.”

Wojciechowska has family in Poland and is very familiar with the fear that exists in Eastern European countries about changes in the European Union, mainly due to the possibility of Russian intervention.

“I don’t see how the immigration issue will go away. It’s the perception of immigration that needs to change. It is not something the populist Brexiteers will have achieved,” she said.

The two-year divorce process will primarily revolve around negotiations between the United Kingdom and the European Union, per the BBC. A draft deal would also be put in place.

At the end of the day, the talks will happen and the process will continue. There will be pressures within the country that the United Kingdom has already started to feel, politically, economically and socially, but there isn’t much else Londoners and the United Kingdom as a whole can do except wait, accept the changes and continue living.

As Wojciechowska said, “The Brits are famous for their ‘just get on with it’ attitude, and that’s what we’ll do.”

Saniya More is a sophomore dual major in international relations and broadcast and digital journalism. Her column appears weekly in Pulp. She can be reached at ssmore@syr.edu.

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