Understand what Brexit is and its consequences

UK’s exit from the European Union has unforeseen consequences for citizens living in the region: understand what changes

In the past three years, you must have come across the term “Brexit” in the media several times. However, do you know what Brexit is and what impact this term will have on the relationship of British citizens and Europe?

To understand a little more about this expression, first we need to go back in time and understand how we got to scenario in which the United Kingdom ceased to be part of the European Union. It is the first time that a country has left the group, which was created in 1973.

Why is the UK leaving the European Union?

The United Kingdom is made up of England, Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales. Since 1973, these countries have been part of the European Union, an economic bloc that gathers most European countries.

In June 2016, British voters participated in a plebiscite, in which the majority of them decided that they should leave the bloc – 52% voted in favor of leaving, while 48% defended they should stay.

Since then, the international press has named it “Brexit”. The expression is a combination of the words “Britain” and “exit” – directly translation into Portuguese as “Bretanha” and “saída” – and is used to refer to the transition process followed by the countries during their exit.

Since 2016, the United Kingdom has been negotiating the terms of this exit with the European Union. Officially, the country ceased to be part of the economic bloc on January 31, 2020. Although not everything has been fully clarified, this departure has led to many changes for British citizens.

What changes for British citizens?

Now that you know what Brexit is, it’s time to understand how this can directly impacts the lives of British citizens. The member countries of the European Union have a number of advantages among themselves, such as free transit between nations, for example.

In other words, the European Union functions as a larger country, in which nations are its states. Until then, the British could freely enter other countries in the group and vice versa, without the need to present a passport.

In addition, taxes should also be taken into consideration. Products traded between countries, until then, were exempt from import and export taxes, something that will probably change as soon as the nations cease to belong to the same bloc.

Although the United Kingdom is now officially independent from the European Union, in practice, the groups are still negotiating. Several details are yet to be defined, but the deadline has been extended to December 31, 2020.

What is at stake now is a new trade agreement, addressing tax issues and how British citizens and other European citizens will move between countries. In addition, data sharing and security, and drug licensing and regulation are also on the agenda.

If an agreement is not made by the end of 2020, then the situation can change dramatically for all the parties involved.

What changes for Brazilians after Brexit?

British citizens are not the only ones to see some changes after UK’s exit from the European Union. For Brazilians, trade and diplomatic relations also change. Currently, there are more than 300,000 Brazilians living in this region, not to mention countless tourists and exchange students who visit the country every year.

The greatest problem, at least for now, is that rules have not been defined yet. For example, Brazilian tourists can enter European Union countries with a passport only, without the need for a specific visa obtained beforehand.

United Kingdom’s independence from the economic bloc could change this scenario. Many fear that the legal requirements for visiting or staying in the country will become stricter, which would make business and studies in the region more difficult.

There are many Brazilians living in the UK with a European passport. From 2021, this will no longer be possible and many will have to get new permits and adapt to the requirements made by the British government. However, by then, uncertainty remains.

Having a transition period will be crucial

More than understanding what Brexit is, it is essential that all those who have or wish to have a relationship with the United Kingdom follow negotiations throughout 2020.

However, we can be sure of one thing: the United Kingdom must negotiate new bilateral agreements with Brazil, either with regard to import and export, or to the transit of tourists and students between countries. The expectation, of course, is that procedures will get simplified.

However, we know that things can be different in practice. For those who live in the United Kingdom or intend to visit or study in the country for the next few years, be careful: visa rules can change at any time and we still don’t know what the rules will be exactly.

Our recommendation is that you keep up to date with the “Brexit” topic and follow the news published in the national and international press.

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