Updated 9 months, 1 week ago

Brexit is here

There is great risk in the EU referendum taking place on June 23. It will have mayor geopolitical and social consequences if the leave campaign wins. The last poll update in the Financial Times suggests both sides share 44% of the votes.

LatAm Post has been following this event and last week we presented what would Latin American economy would expect if the Leave campaign succeeded. Now, we present other possible outcomes ahead of the vote.

Immigration has been in the spotlight of the referendum campaigns. According to the Migration Conservatory in 2015 there were over 3 million people from other EU countries living in the UK, mostly Polish with 800,000 people and Ireland with 390,000. 68% of the migrants from the EU go to the UK for work.

Despite welfare benefits have been seen as incentives to go to the UK during the referendum campaigns, the Migration Observatory says it is difficult to know if this is the case. The majority of the EU migrants don't receive these benefits nor claim tax credits.

They say its impossible to predict what will happen with migration as is it only after the referendum we will know what policies will apply to EU citizens. Certainly the end of freedom of movement and making them meet the same criteria as non EU migrants would reduce EU immigration.

But it is possible that in order to get access to the EU single market they would negotiate association agreements similar to the ones in Norway and Switzerland, then migration from the EU wouldn't change significantly.

Most migrants living in the UK are not from EU countries but from India and Pakistan. And recent negotiations regarding Turkish entry to the EU create fear among Leave campaigners. Turkey would become the second largest and the only majority Muslim country in the EU.

There is also the risk of political instability within the UK. Political union among England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland may be unviable if the Leave campaign succeeds. Scots have been campaigning to keep Britain in the EU and the result could triggers a new vote on Scottish independence.

It would also destabilize Northern Ireland peace process. Democratic Unionists are campaigning to leave while the other major parties want to stay. EU membership has played a significant role in providing a neutral space for the two sides to meet as equals. New restrictions on the freedom of movement and goods could revive tensions.

In the rest of Europe Brexit could make other non Eurozone countries follow the UK out of the European Union. Emmanuel Karagiannis, Senior Lecturer at King's College London says "EU's biggest achievement has been the establishment of democracies that collaborate in a peaceful environment."

Ending the cohesion necessary to address challenges as the migration crisis, the single market dependence and relations with Russia would certainly leave both the UK and EU more vulnerable.

These and the economic consequences can damage the image of the UK as a great power.

More so, in the long term it could change EU balance of power and strengthen protectionist forces and social democrats. Germany could become more powerful and it is uncertain what would happen with the European Parliament landscape. The EU would lose its foremost military power, diplomatic network, intelligence capabilities and soft power.

Only time will tell what will happen in the EU referendum and only 3 days are left for the vote. Polls will close at 22:00 GMT at 282 local centers around the UK. According to the BBC it is safe to say that from 4am onwards it should be clear in which way the vote is going.

Results will be announced at Manchester Town Hall by a chief counting officer.


 LatinAmerican Post