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Brexit - Probably the biggest divorce scandal in modern history (by Private)

On June 23rd 2016, 52% of Britain's population (that is, 17,4 milion voters against 16,1 milion) voted for leaving the European Union. The term 'Brexit' was quickly invented and is short for "British exit" (from the European Union). However, The United Kingdom's leaving didn't happen straight away - in fact, almost three years later, it hasn't happened yet! In order to have time for figuring out the details of how they were going to withdraw, the UK had until March 29th 2019, where Brexit was supposed to have happened. This, however, was postponed to April 12 2019, and if nothing has changed, the UK will leave the EU without a deal on that day.
Recently (if you live in the EU at least) Brexit is all you hear about in the medias. But what exactly is Brexit, why hasn't it happened yet, and why are everyone so conflicted about it (and what is that 'deal' everyone keeps talking about)?
Ever since the referendum (that is, the public vote) was in favor of leaving, the UK has negotiated with the other EU countries. "But what have they been negotiating about for almost three years?" you might wonder, "Is it what happens after the UK leaves, with trade deals and plans of cooperation between the UK and EU?" The answer to that is no. All the negotiations have mainly been about how the UK leaves. This is officially known as the "Withdrawal Agreement" but is usually called the "divorce deal".

The divorce deal covers a lot of things, including these:
* How much money the UK has to pay the EU to leave (it's a lot!)
* What will happen to UK citizens living in EU countries - and the other way around
* How to avoid the return of a physical border between Northern Ireland (part of the UK) and the Republic of Ireland (Part of the EU) - more on why this is a big problem later.
But why are people so against this divorce deal? 
There are a lot of complaints that the so far proposed deal doesn't give the UK back control of its own affairs, which was one of the main reason why many people voted for Brexit in the first place. 

Then there is the whole question of Ireland or, more specifically, the Irish border. Both the EU and the UK want to avoid the return of a 'hard border' with guard posts (something that would happen with a complete Brexit, as Northern Ireland is part of the UK and the Republic of Ireland is part of the EU. Under 'normal' Brexit circumstances, there would therefore have to be customs as well as immigration checkpoints to make sure everything passing into the EU was approved). 
Unless you are familiar with modern Irish history, you might be asking yourself why that is a problem. Allow me to briefly explain. 
Between the 1970'es and 90'es, a bloody conflict known as 'The Troubles' were going on in Ireland. The conflict was between the 'Unionists' who identified with the United Kingdom and were mainly protestant, and the 'nationalists' who identified as Irish were mostly catholic and wanted a united Ireland. Most of the activity were in the areas along the 310-miles-long border where bombs, roadblocks and terrorist attacks from both sides were everyday events. The British authorities sent in soldiers to try and calm the escalating levels of violence. After a while, these soldiers became targets as well. During some protests that got out of control, some of the soldiers shot and killed some civilians. Paramilitary groups were formed as well - both the nationalistic Irish Republican Army (IRA) - and groups supporting the UK. These groups were by many considered pure terrorist groups. It was very violent, and as most of the fighting took place in the streets, a lot of innocents got hurt as well. Almost 3600 people were killed in this unofficial civil war. 

The conflict was officially ended on April 10th 1998 with a peace agreement known as the Good Friday Agreement. The agreement were made by the British and Irish governments, as well as most of the political parties in Northern Ireland. They wanted to make a new government for Northern Ireland where both unionists and nationalist would share power. It was agreed that there would be no change in Northern Ireland's status (as being part of the UK or Republic of Ireland) without consent from the majority of the population. Currently, Northern Ireland citizens can chose if they want to be UK citizens, citizens of the Republic of Ireland - or both. 
During the Troubles, the Irish border was heavily militarized (with British soldiers) and it made a big taget for nationalist groups. The border itself also became a symbol of the whole conflict. For those reasons, one of the main fundaments in the Good Friday Agreement was that the border should be softened. The watchtowers and guard posts were removed, but many fear that if those came again (which they could, as with Brexit, the border in Ireland would become a border between the EU and non-EU), it could reignite the conflicts. 
To prevent the return of guard posts, something known as 'the Backstop' was set in place. The backstop is supposed to be a safety net, a last resort, to keep the borders of Ireland open, no matter what happens in the Brexit negotiations. Basically, it would mean Northern Ireland would still follow some EU rules, fx regarding food products. However, ideally, the backstop would never be used as some other, permanent solution (trade deal) would be agreed upon before Brexit happens.
Currently products doesn't have to be inspected for customs and standards when passing between the two parts of Ireland, as both of them are part of the EU. But, after a Brexit, the two would be in different customs and regulations regimes and goods would therefore have to be checked at the border. No-one wants the return of a hard border, but as the UK at the same time wants to leave the EU customs union and single market, this creates a bit of a problem. 
The EU suggested Northern Ireland could stay in large parts of the EU customs union until other things had been agreed upon. But that idea is not particularly popular in the UK. 
The entire backstop itself annoys some Members of Parliament (MPs). It would mean still following some EU rules without being able to end it without permission from the EU. Others don't think Northern Ireland should be treated separately. And then there are MPs who are against Brexit altogether and therefor not in favour of the Brexit deal in any way.  
While Prime Minister Theresa May and the EU have agreed on a withdrawal agreement, the British parliament has yet to approve it. Currently, Mrs May and the leader of the other main British party (Labour) are trying to work together to find a way forward, as no-one wants to leave without an agreement. If they agree on a plan, they will have a new parliament vote before April 10th. The EU is also holding an emergency meeting on that day about what is going to happen. 

From all the talks and negotiations, there are a few possible outcomes. 

1) No Brexit
Brexit could just not happen after all. The European Court of Justice has said that the UK can cancel Brexit. However, the chances of this happening is very slim. 

2) Soft Brexit
The second option is the soft Brexit. 'Soft Brexit' will occur if the British Parliament agrees to the "Divorce deal" prime minister Theresa May made with the EU. If this deal is approved, the Brexit process will happen slowly, and there will be no huge changes until December 31st 2020 (with a possibility of extending the transition period to 2022). 

3) No-deal Brexit
However, if the departure deal isn't approved (it has already been rejected by the British Parliament three times!), it will be a 'hard Brexit' and might happen as soon as April 12th - unless the UK gets another extension. Theresa May has suggested June 30th as a new day (with the option to leave earlier- which could mean avoiding having to participate in the European parliament votes on May 26th), but this has yet to be approved by the EU. They will decide on this on an emergency meeting on April 10th.
If the UK leaves without a withdrawal agreement, there will be no transition period, and EU laws will stop applying to the UK immediately. This means that both the UK government and the EU council will have to have guidelines and plans in place for what will happen. Currently a lot of these plans are lacking. 
The UK government do not want a no-deal scenario, but they are not satisfied with the deal proposal as it currently is. 
If a no-deal Brexit happens from one day to the next without much time to prepare, it will have a massive influence on trade. The UK will be excluded from the EU market, meaning it will become a country on level with fx USA and China when talking about trade. This will have a big economical consequences. However, that will not be the only consequences. A lot of the food sold in the UK comes from other EU countries, and the same goes for things like medicine. A shortage of either could have fatal consequences. Even transportation will provide a challenge, as new agreements will have to be negotiated with individual countries to even allow airplanes to fly! In reality, every part of the British economy will most likely be influenced in some way by a no-deal Brexit. 
There are a lot of areas that still haven't been negotiated - or agreed upon - even in case the British parliament will accept the divorce deal. These things are mainly about how the future relationship between the UK and the EU will be and covers everything from the (future) rights of UK citizens in EU and EU citizens in UK (international students amongst them) and trade deals; basically everything. 
Many Brits have started wanting to have a Final Say in what is going to happen with Brexit. According to surveys, more than 50% of those who answered want a new referendum on Brexit, no matter what the potential outcome is. The Brexit that is now suggested is relatively far from the original version promised before the 2016 referendum. This is one of the main reason people want a new referendum - and also one of the main reasons why it isn't a completely foreign option, as you normally do not have a vote on the same thing twice, just because you didn't like the result. However in this case, even important members of both main British parties have supported the idea of a new referendum as it could be the way to move forward in negotiations that have otherwise reached a bit of a stalemate. 

On March 23rd, a huge march called the "Put it to the People" march was held in London. This was just six days before Brexit was originally supposed to happen. The purpose of the march was to demand that any Brexit deal should be put to a public vote for final agreement. According to the organisers, more than a million people joined the march. While it hasn't really been possible to confirm those numbers, there for sure were many people - we are talking well into the hundreds of thousands! 

However, another rally was held a week after the first, on March 29th. This march was pro-Brexit, and their main argument was that the side wanting to leave the EU had won the first time around, so having another vote about it would be wrong, undemocratic and like cheating. This is the main concern about having a second referendum, as it might not be entirely democratic - because then where would the line stop if you could just re-vote on any decision you didn't agree with. 
Basically, no-one really knows the answer to that question. However, there are quite a few scenarios on the horizon. 
On April 5th, Theresa May requested a Brexit extension to June 30th. 
While waiting for an answer, she has been working on making a plan with the leader of the opposition party. 
If they don't agree on a solution, the parliament is going to vote on what solution they would prefer - and May has said she will support whatever option that might be. 
On April 10th, the EU considers the UK proposal of whatever they want to do, including whether they will give (further) extension. If they disagree, the UK will either leave without a deal on April 12th - or get an even longer extension - a 'Flextension' - of a year with the option to leave whenever they want (this will mean the UK has to vote in the EU parliament elections in May, something they are trying desperately to avoid). 
If, however, the EU agrees, the Parliament will try to pass a deal before May 22nd, and, if succesful, they will leave that day. If not, the UK will have to participate in the EU elections. If they then can pass a deal before June 30th, they will leave with a deal that day - if not it will be a no-deal Brexit happening. 

It is for sure going to be interesting to see what will happen in the next few days!

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Comment on the article Brexit - Probably the biggest divorce scandal in modern history.
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Godis wrote on 23-04 22:41:
Godis wrote:
Very interesting article and nice layout!
I hope the UK will stay in the EU.
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Private wrote on 14-04 21:36:
Hypoxic wrote:
At the end of this Brexit mess I'm willing to bet there will be another Scottish independence referendum 
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Private wrote on 10-04 12:31:
Meowmere wrote:
im curious how it'll turn out!
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TamaraSensuela wrote on 10-04 12:30:
TamaraSensuela wrote:
Wow only 2 days left!
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Escobar wrote on 10-04 11:27:
Escobar wrote:
I think it's great . and it's explained quiet heads on and easy to understand, since brexit and any political topics can be hard to completely get the grasp on.
I already knew quite a lot, but I'd have to say that this is very cool!
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Cimorene wrote on 09-04 22:37:
Cimorene wrote:
Mely wrote:
veey interesting article
I'm glad you found it interesting!
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Cimorene wrote on 09-04 22:36:
Cimorene wrote:
Era wrote:
Check this great article made by cimorene

I had a great read!
The layout is so gorgeous! 
I'm glad you liked it!!
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Mely wrote on 09-04 19:22:
Mely wrote:
veey interesting article
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Private wrote on 09-04 18:44:
Era wrote:
Check this great article made by @Cimorene

I had a great read! ;)

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