The people have spoken. Democracy has shown the world again its core principle:power to the people. However, have the people’s wishes really been fulfilled?
On the 23rd of June 2016, the British population was to decide if they ought to stay in the European Union or not. The turnout of the referendum was at 72%, meaning that approximately only 40% of the actual population voted “leave” – making this decision a legitimate reflection of the people’s interests (?). We must also take into consideration that Britain has over 65 million citizens, having over 5 million British-born people living permanently abroad, as well as many other descendants across the globe, who most likely did not participate in the referendum. We cannot forget that Britain has a special relationship with its 14 Overseas Territories and its 3 Crown Dependencies, which enjoy internationally competitive tax regimes, as well as a great historical and cultural influence in the Commonwealth of Nations.
Nevertheless, according to the referendum, even though not legally binding, Britain is expected to leave the EU. The next British Prime Minister will have a huge burden on his or her shoulders – being expected to invoke article 50 of the Treaty of Lisbon, withdrawing its EU membership and re-negotiating Britain’s socio-economic and diplomatic relations with the rest of the world.
Surely, this complex and challenging process that awaits the EU and the UK in the following years creates certain disadvantages and tensions, though, in order to re-gain control over Britain’s international cashflow, those negotiations seem to be necessary.