UNITED STATES (OBSERVATORY NEWS) — Great Britain since January 1, 1973 became a member of the European Economic Community.
In 1992, she signed the Maastricht Treaty and became a member of the European Union.
From the first years of its stay in the EU, Great Britain strove to maintain the highest possible independence in significant economic and political issues. In particular, the country did not join the most important integration projects: the Schengen Agreement (1995) on the abolition of visa controls at common borders and the introduction of a single European currency – the euro (1999).
In March 2012, London at the EU summit refused to sign the so-called Budget Pact, which was lobbied by Berlin and Paris and introduced strict rules of financial discipline.
In 2011, amid the economic crisis in the UK , dissatisfaction with the country’s presence in the European Union intensified . Conservative MP David Nuttall raised the issue of a referendum on Britain’s EU membership. The corresponding petition was signed by more than 100 thousand citizens of Great Britain.
However, on October 25, 2011, members of the British Parliament voted overwhelmingly (483 out of 650) to prepare for the referendum.
The vote was preceded by a five-hour debate. In his opening remarks, British Prime Minister David Cameron asked parliamentarians to vote against the referendum, emphasizing that now is not the best time for him, as Europe is in crisis.
In January 2013, Cameron announced in his keynote speech that Britain could hold a referendum on withdrawing from the European Union at the end of the current decade if the conservative party led by it wins.
As a result of the general election held on May 7, 2015, conservatives received 36.9% of the vote (versus 30.4% of the votes received by Labor) and secured an absolute majority in the House of Commons (lower house of parliament). Tory leader David Cameron formed a one-party government.
On November 10, 2015, Cameron announced the official start of a campaign to change the conditions for UK membership in the EU. He sent a letter to the President of the European Council, in which he indicated the requirements of London to the European Union, which related to the control of migration, improving competitiveness, strengthening British sovereignty, and changes in the currency sphere.
Cameron pledged himself to promise to vote in a referendum for leaving the EU in the event that these conditions are not met. February 19, 2016 it became known that the leaders of the EU countries agreed with the UK new conditions for its membership in the union, on which the British Prime Minister David Cameron was to support the preservation of his country in the EU at the upcoming referendum.
Among the agreements reached were the inclusion of a “mechanism of protection” of the social system of Great Britain for seven years without the right of extension, the withdrawal of Great Britain from the action of the EU principle of an “ever closer union of the peoples of Europe”, which implies the integration of countries within the EU, the assertion of the principle that “Great Britain never will not join the eurozone.”
On June 23, 2016, a referendum was held in Great Britain on the issue of the country’s exit from the EU ( Brexit ). 52% of Britons voted for leaving the EU, 48% voted against.
On June 24, British Prime Minister David Cameron announced his resignation.
On July 13, the British government was led by Theresa May.
On March 29, 2017, the United Kingdom officially notified Brussels of its withdrawal from the European Union.
On April 18, British Prime Minister Theresa May announced her intention to hold early parliamentary elections, thereby strengthening the “unity of government” in the implementation of the UK exit from the EU.
However, according to the results of the elections held on June 8, conservatives received only 318 mandates – 12 less than they had in the previous parliament, and eight less than what is needed for an absolute majority. On June 11, Teresa May formed a government that confirmed the unchanged plans for Brexit.
On July 13, the Brexit bill , also known as the “Great Cancellation Bill” and the Bill to Repeal EU Laws, was introduced into the British Parliament.
There were several attempts made to document amendments , confer parliamentary authority to change the conditions or to cancel Brexit exit from the European Union if it is impossible to conclude an agreement with Brussels. The amendments required the coordination of different chambers, and because of this, the document “wandered” from the lower house to the upper one and vice versa. This procedure is called Ping Pong. On January 17, 2018, the House of Commons passed the Brexit Bill in the third and final reading.
On June 20, the House of Lords of the British Parliament finally approved the government version of the bill.
On June 26, Queen Elizabeth II of Great Britain approved him , giving him the status of law.
The document set Brexit’s exact date at 23:00 on March 29, 2019. It provides for the exclusion of the European Court from the process of preparing and applying laws in the UK, the planned repeal of the law on the European Community of 1972 in the country should put an end to the primacy of European legislation over the British.
The Brexit negotiations between the UK and the EU officially began in June 2017 and lasted more than a year. On November 25, 2018, the summit of the leaders of the 27 remaining states in the European Union approved at an extraordinary meeting a draft agreement on the conditions for the separation of the UK from the European Union, as well as a political declaration on future relations with the country.
The UK was due to leave the EU on March 29, 2019. It was assumed that after this a transitional period would begin, during which the parties had to agree on the parameters and format of further relations and which should have ended by the end of 2020.
However, in London there were difficulties with the passage of the document. In the first half of 2019, the British parliament rejected a deal already agreed with the EU four times.
Parliament was supposed to suggest ways out of the political crisis, but during the vote all eight options proposed by various politicians were rejected.
In April, parliamentarians passed a law designed to prevent a “hard” version of Brexit. He ordered the British government to request a postponement of Brexit to avoid leaving the EU without an agreement.
The main stumbling block because of which the British parliamentarians did not want to approve the option of an agreement with the EU is the border issue with Northern Ireland. In the case of Brexit, a full border was to be created between this territory and the EU Republic of Ireland, which would impose customs duties on all goods. However, the overwhelming majority of Northern Irish people and a significant portion of residents of other regions of Great Britain opposed the fencing off of Ireland. At the same time, Brussels was ready to meet and give Northern Ireland a special status. However, this option did not suit many in London, since, according to them, this isolates this region within the kingdom.
The timing of UK exit from the EU has repeatedly been postponed . On April 10, 2019, at a summit in Brussels, the European Union and the United Kingdom agreed on a “flexible” extension of the Brexit maximum deferral until October 31.
On May 24, after unsuccessful attempts to convince lawmakers, Theresa May announced her resignation. On June 7, she resigned as president of the Conservative Party.
July 24, 2019 the post of Prime Minister of Great Britain took Boris Johnson.
He stated that he would withdraw the country from the EU on October 31 with or without agreement. However, in September, parliament passed a law requiring the head of government to request a postponement of Brexit on the first business day after October 19, if the text of the withdrawal agreement is not agreed before October 19.
On October 17, 2019, the European Union and the United Kingdom, after several weeks of intensive and difficult negotiations, agreed on an updated deal under the Brexit conditions, then it was approved by the summit of the heads of 27 remaining countries in the EU. The main difference between the new deal and the old agreement is to resolve the situation with the borders on the island of Ireland, and more precisely with the border of two states – Ireland and Northern Ireland. In the British media, the plan was called “Two Borders in Four Years”, it provides for the creation of a “special regulation zone” after Brexit, which will extend to the entire island and will avoid control over compliance with sanitary and other standards when moving goods across the EU-UK border. In addition, between Ireland and Northern Ireland Customs points will not be created.
However, the vote on a new deal in the United Kingdom, scheduled for October 19, did not bring positive results, and the consideration of the document, which could take place on October 21, did not take place.
On October 20, it became known that British Prime Minister Boris Johnson asked the European Union to postpone Brexit until the end of the day on January 31, 2020.
On October 28, European Council President Donald Tusk said the EU, consisting of 27 countries, agreed to postpone Brexit until January 31.
On October 29, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson introduced to the parliament a bill to hold early parliamentary elections in the country. For Johnson, this was the fourth attempt to achieve a general election. Parliament approved the bill.
The opposition agreed with the prime minister’s proposal only after the EU agreed to postpone Brexit for three months – until January 31, 2020.
On December 12, early parliamentary elections were held in Great Britain, at which the British conservatives won the most convincing victory in the elections since 1987: they won 365 seats in parliament. This gave them the opportunity to form a government without resorting to a coalition, as well as a high chance of holding any bills they proposed through parliament.
On December 19, the government introduced the Brexit bill to parliament. At the same time, a clause appeared in the document prohibiting the postponement of the end of the transitional period after Brexit from the end of 2020 to a later date.
On January 9, 2020, the House of Commons of the British Parliament approved an agreement on the withdrawal of the United Kingdom from the EU. 330 deputies voted for the agreement, 321 against.
On January 22, 2020, the bill was approved by the House of Lords; on January 23, it was approved by Queen Elizabeth II of Great Britain.
On January 24, 2020, European Council President Charles Michel and European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen signed an agreement on the conditions for Britain to leave the European Union (Brexit). On the same day, the document was solemnly signed by British Prime Minister Boris Johnson.
Great Britain will leave the EU at 11:00 p.m. January 31. Then, until December, the transition period will last, during which the parties will negotiate on further relations.
This article is written and prepared by our foreign editors writing for OBSERVATORY NEWS from different countries around the world – material edited and published by OBSERVATORY staff in our newsroom.
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