Thursday, 23 June 2016

EU referendum: Brexit or Bremain

Brexit Britain

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UK votes to leave the EU

The UK has voted to leave the EU by 52% to 48%. Leave won the majority of votes in England and Wales, while every council in Scotland saw Remain majorities.

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EU referendum results and maps

The UK has voted to leave the European Union, shocking the world and revealing a divided country.

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Brexit: What does it mean for you?

The results are in -- the British public has voted to leave the European Union. So what does a Brexit look like for you? It depends who you are:
  • The Homeowner
  • The International Globetrotter
  • The British Holidaymaker
  • The Investor
  • The Student
  • The Expat in Britain
  • The British Expat
  • The Scot
  • The Northern Irish
None of the Above? Let's say you don't have any connection to Britain at all. If you're watching the drama unfold from your couch in New York, New Delhi or Abu Dhabi, will a Brexit still affect you? A drop in UK property prices would be handy if you're looking to invest in London's real estate market from afar. If the value of the pound drops, it might make the cost of a vacation to Edinburgh lightly less eye-watering. But although a Brexit would primarily hurt the UK economy, it could also have consequences for global financial markets - meaning your stocks might take a hit. In other words: we simply don't know what the divorce would look like.

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What is 'Brexit'

Brexit is an abbreviation of "British exit" that mirrors the term Grexit. It refers to the possibility that Britain will withdraw from the European Union. The country will hold an in-out referendum on its EU membership on June 23.

David Cameron, leader of the Conservative Party and Prime Minister since 2010, announced support for a referendum on Britain's EU membership in 2013. He said that the country would hold the vote before 2017 if the Conservatives were re-elected in the May 2015 general election. They were, and Cameron pursued a re-negotiation of the terms of Britain's membership, to be followed by a vote on Brexit.

Cameron supports the "in" or "remain" side (sometimes dubbed "Bremain"), arguing that the renegotiated terms he secured with European Council President Donald Tusk are favorable to Britain. Skeptics on both sides see the re-negotiation as political theater, which Cameron was forced to perform as a result of his prior sympathy to euroskeptic (anti-EU) arguments. They reason that this skepticism was not completely genuine, but at least partly calculated to head off electoral challenges.

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Read This if You Keep Hearing About a “Brexit” But Aren’t Sure What It Is

On Thursday, people across Britain will go to the polls to decide whether their country should stay in the European Union or break away.

Like a celebrity couple making a media splash, there’s already a cute name for Britain leaving the EU — “Brexit,” short for “British exit.”

But why is Britain considering leaving the European Union? And what would happen if it did? Let’s walk through it:
  • What is the European Union?
  • Why is Britain considering leaving the EU?
  • The argument for staying
  • The argument for leaving
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The non-Brits guide to Brexit

The European Union is arguably the world's most powerful union. And the Brexit referendum is the biggest decision Brits have faced in a generation.

So, you can guess why there's such wailing and gnashing of teeth about Thursday's monumental vote. But if you haven't been paying attention, no worries.

Here's everything you need to know to become an insta-pundit:
  • What is Brexit?
  • What does it mean for the rest of us?
  • What's the difference between England, Great Britain and the U.K.?
  • What's the EU?
  • What's the problem with the EU?
  • Why is the U.K. unhappy?
  • Why is immigration an issue?
  • What happens if the U.K. pulls out?
  • Has a country ever left the EU before?
  • Will the referendum pass?
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There are just three things you need to know to understand what “Brexit” is all about

From the outside, the debate about whether the UK should leave the European Union is confusing. Frankly, it’s pretty perplexing from the inside, too. Voters go to the polls on Thursday, June 23, to make a momentous decision about whether Britain should exit the EU—a so-called “Brexit,” with far-reaching consequences for the country, continent, and even the global economy.

It’s unpredictable because voting intentions won’t follow party lines. The UK’s Conservative government is deeply split on the issue, with prime minister David Cameron in favor of the “remain” option but some of his closest colleagues, including former London mayor Boris Johnson and justice minister Michael Gove, at the forefront of the “leave” campaign.

There are also plenty of people on the left who want to leave. The Labour Party’s leader, Jeremy Corbyn, has offered only lukewarm support to staying in the EU, which could dampen turnout from a group thought to be core to the “remain” constituency.

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Brexit and the UK’s public finances

If the result of the referendum on 23 June leads to the UK leaving the EU, there will be impacts on the UK public finances. This report aims to set out the possible impacts, focusing particularly on the short run, given that the Chancellor wishes to achieve a budget balance by the end of this parliament. We also look at possible long-run consequences.

The overall impact on the public finances will depend on two distinct components, each of which is uncertain to some degree:
  • The mechanical effect. As a net contributor to the EU, leaving the EU would strengthen the public finances because our net contribution would fall. But given uncertainty over the form of any subsequent arrangement with the EU, it might not necessarily fall to zero.
  • The national income effect. Any effect of leaving the EU on UK national income would affect the public finances. A rise in national income would strengthen the public finances, a fall would weaken them.
We find that the mechanical effect of leaving the EU would be to improve the UK’s public finances by in the order of £8 billion – assuming the UK did not subsequently sign up to EEA or an alternative EU trade deal that involved contributions to the EU budget. However, there is an overwhelming consensus among those who have made estimates of the consequences of Brexit for national income that it would reduce national income in both the short and long runs. The economic reasons for this – increased uncertainty, higher costs of trade and reduced FDI – are clear. The only significant exception to this consensus is ‘Economists for Brexit’.

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HM Treasury analysis: the immediate economic impact of leaving the EU

This document assesses the immediate economic impact of a vote for the UK to leave the EU.

A vote to leave would cause a profound economic shock creating instability and uncertainty which would be compounded by the complex and interdependent negotiations that would follow. The central conclusion of the analysis is that the effect of this profound shock would be to push the UK into recession and lead to a sharp rise in unemployment.

Two scenarios have been modelled to provide analysis of the adverse impact on the economy: a ‘shock’ to the economy, and a ‘severe shock’.

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Uncertainty Clouds the United Kingdom’s Economic Prospects

The economy of the United Kingdom has performed well in recent years, but it faces important challenges and risks, according to the IMF’s just-published annual health check of the U.K. economy and its periodic report on the financial sector.

Economic growth has consistently been near the top among major advanced economies, the employment rate has risen to a record high, the fiscal deficit has been reduced, and major financial sector reforms have been adopted, the report notes.

Nevertheless, there are risks to the outlook, including the possibility of a reversal in recently buoyant housing markets, a wide external current account deficit and low household saving rate, and continued slow productivity growth. The referendum on the U.K.’s continued membership in the European Union, to take place on June 23, is a major source of uncertainty.

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The Economic Consequences of Brexit: A Taxing Decision

Membership of the European Union has contributed to the economic prosperity of the United Kingdom. Uncertainty about the outcome of the referendum has already started to weaken growth in the United Kingdom. A UK exit (Brexit) would be a major negative shock to the UK economy, with economic fallout in the rest of the OECD, particularly other European countries. In some respects, Brexit would be akin to a tax on GDP, imposing a persistent and rising cost on the economy that would not be incurred if the UK remained in the EU.

By 2020, GDP would be over 3% smaller than otherwise (with continued EU membership), equivalent to a cost per household of GBP 2200 (in today’s prices). In the longer term, structural impacts would take hold through the channels of capital, immigration and lower technical progress. In particular, labour productivity would be held back by a drop in foreign direct investment and a smaller pool of skills. The extent of foregone GDP would increase over time.

By 2030, in a central scenario GDP would be over 5% lower than otherwise – with the cost of Brexit  equivalent to GBP 3200 per household (in today’s prices). The effects would be even larger in a more pessimistic scenario and remain negative even in the optimistic scenario. Brexit would also hold back GDP in other European economies, particularly in the near term resulting from heightened uncertainty would create about the future of Europe. In contrast, continued UK membership in the European Union and further reforms of the Single Market would enhance living standards on both sides of the Channel.‌

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From jobs to travel and study: how will Brexit affect young Britons?
Travelling in Europe could be more difficult for Britons if the UK left the EU. Photograph: Alamy

For decades, young Britons have enjoyed the freedom of Europe, able to work, study and travel freely on the continent, and enjoy healthcare and other privileges while they do so.

But how would all that change if Britain voted to leave the European Union on Thursday?
  • Will young people still be able to get jobs in Europe?
  • How will it affect young people wanting to study at universities in Europe?
  • Would Brexit make it easier for young people to find jobs in the UK?
  • Wouldn’t the drop in immigration make it easier for young people to find work?
  • How will Brexit affect young people’s ability to travel in Europe?
  • Would leaving the EU make it easier for young people to get on the housing ladder?
  • What would be the economic impact of Brexit on young people?
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What Brexit Would Mean for Asia's Economies

While a U.K. exit from the European Union would almost certainly cause turmoil in Europe, its effects on Asian economies including China, the region's largest, may be much more benign.

QUICKTAKE - Will Britain Leave the E.U.? That's according to a note by London-based Capital Economics, which said a Brexit would cause at most a GDP drop of 0.2 percent across Asia.

The research company based its finding on a worst-case scenario estimate by the National Institute of Economic and Social Research, a London-based think tank, which said Brexit would reduce British imports by 25 percent worldwide within two years.

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The UK's EU referendum: All you need to know

What does Brexit mean? - It is a word that has become used as a shorthand way of saying the UK leaving the EU - merging the words Britain and exit to get Brexit, in a same way as a Greek exit from the EU was dubbed Grexit in the past.

Who will be able to vote? - British, Irish and Commonwealth citizens over 18 who are resident in the UK, along with UK nationals living abroad who have been on the electoral register in the UK in the past 15 years. Members of the House of Lords and Commonwealth citizens in Gibraltar will also be eligible, unlike in a general election. Citizens from EU countries - apart from Ireland, Malta and Cyprus - will not get a vote.

What is referendum question? - Should the United Kingdom remain a member of the European Union or leave the European Union?"

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United Kingdom withdrawal from the European Union

Withdrawal of the United Kingdom from the European Union, often shortened to Brexit (a portmanteau of "British" or "Britain" and "exit"),[1][2] is a political goal that has been pursued by various individuals, advocacy groups, and political parties since the United Kingdom (UK) joined the precursor of the European Union (EU) in 1973. Withdrawal from the European Union is a right of EU member states under Article 50 of the Treaty on European Union.

In 1975, a referendum was held on the country's membership of the European Economic Community (EEC), later known as the EU. The outcome of the vote was in favour of the country continuing to be a member of the EEC. The UK electorate will address the question again on June 23, 2016, in a referendum on the country's membership. This referendum was arranged by parliament when it passed the European Union Referendum Act 2015.

For the country's continued membership in the EU, the term Bremain is often used (portmanteau of "Britain" and "remain").

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How others see it

MOST of the Brexit debate has been about its effect on Britain. But a British departure would also have a profound impact on the European Union. And that would affect how others approach negotiations with a post-Brexit Britain.

For the EU, a vote for Brexit on June 23rd could hardly come at a worse time. The club is in trouble. The euro crisis is not over, with growth slow, youth unemployment high and Greece again in difficulties. The recent fall in the flows of refugees across the Mediterranean may prove temporary. Many leaders, including Germany’s Angela Merkel, seem politically weakened.

The longer-term effects of Brexit would also be serious. The EU would lose much prestige from the exit of one of its biggest members. Britain is one of the few EU countries with real diplomatic and military clout. Brexit would also upset the balance of power, leaving more naked both German hegemony and French weakness. And it would make the EU less outward-looking. As the Centre for European Reform, a London-based think-tank, notes in a new report, a British departure would leave the EU “less liberal, more suspicious of science and more protectionist”. That could hurt hopes of new trade deals, notably with America. Jan Techau of Carnegie Europe, a think-tank in Brussels, says Brexit would be bad for transatlantic relations, in which Britain is a key intermediary.

related: Brexit Live Coverage

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The IMF lays out the grave consequences of Brexit

AS IF the economic evidence against Brexit were not already strong enough, the IMF has today published an analysis which shows just what a hit Brexit would be to the British economy. It is an even-handed piece of work, but probably still underestimates the economic costs of quitting the European Union.

The IMF wonks open on a cautious note: in the studies on the economic impact of Brexit “the range of estimates is large, and a few studies even suggest the possibility of positive net economic benefits.” The paper then sets about discrediting pro-Brexit economic studies in typically subtle IMF-speak. One such study suggests unilateral abolition of import tariffs following a Leave vote, which will supposedly yield a 4% boost to GDP as trade soars. The fund, though, thinks it unlikely that “it would be feasible to reduce [tariffs] to zero”. Rather, in a post-Brexit, more inward-looking country, “domestic political pressures may cause import tariffs to rise.”

Even if it were possible to blow away all tariffs, the IMF staff reckon that a likely permanent depreciation could “completely offset” the impact of such a move. The benefit Britain would get from buying more stuff tariff-free would be outweighed by getting less for a weak pound.

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What are the economic consequences of Brexit?

David Cameron has fired the starting gun for a June referendum on Britain’s membership of the EU — a vote with profound implications for the economies of the UK and continental Europe.

In the first part of a special series, the Financial Times investigates the economic scenarios for the UK if voters on June 23 opt for “Brexit”, drawing a line under Britain’s four decades in the bloc.

In a poll of more than 100 economists for the Financial Times at the start of 2016, more than three-quarters thought Brexit would adversely affect the UK’s medium-term economic prospects, nine times more than the 8 per cent who thought Britain’s economy would benefit.

related: UK’s EU referendum

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The Business Case for Brexit

In voting Thursday on whether to leave the European Union, the British people face perhaps the most momentous decision since Henry VIII broke from the Roman Catholic Church in the 16th century so he could marry as he pleased. Though lust is not the motivation this time, there are other similarities. The Catholic Church five centuries ago was run by an unelected supranational elite, answerable to its own courts, living in luxury at the expense of ordinary people, and with powers to impose its one-size-fits-all rules despite the wishes of national governments. We were right to leave.

The European Union is quite unlike any of today’s international organizations and has never been emulated elsewhere. Britain has no desire to withdraw from NATO, the United Nations, the International Monetary Fund, the Council of Europe or, for that matter, the Olympics. These bodies are agreements between governments. The EU is a supranational government run in a fundamentally undemocratic, indeed antidemocratic, way. It has four presidents, none of them elected. Power to initiate legislation rests entirely with an unelected commission. Its court can overrule our Parliament.

This was deliberate. In the mid-20th century, French and German politicians, with bad memories of brief and chaotic democratic interludes between autocracies, designed a way to ensure that power would shift gradually to a technocratic elite. Britain’s history of democracy is happier. Long ago we had a “glorious revolution” to establish the principle that laws cannot be passed or taxes raised except by the consent of the people as represented in Parliament.

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Brexit Pros And Cons: Who In British Society Backs EU Referendum And Why

The Brexit debate has (almost) replaced soccer as the most divisive topic in the U.K. Like rival team fans, voters in the referendum on European Union membership are splintered by region, age and class.

Each side has painted the other in cruel cartoon strokes: “Leave” supporters are denounced as rural racists, “little Englanders” with a fear of all things foreign, while advocates of “remain” are disparaged as blinkered Europhiles with a taste for French cuisine and Belgian beer at the expense of their beleaguered working-class compatriots.

All this mudslinging has resulted in a very dirty fight, culminating in the fatal shooting last week of British Labour Party politician and outspoken “remain” campaigner Jo Cox.

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Brexit 101: Why this week's vote is important

Nearly every market move over the last two weeks has been attributed to the upcoming British referendum on whether the United Kingdom should remain with or leave the European Union.

A poll shows Brits might want to leave? Down go stocks. Now it's looking like the U.K. will stay in the political and economic bloc? Here's 200 points to the upside for the Dow Jones industrial average.

And it's not just stock-trading desks watching the the runup to Thursday's referendum. Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen said earlier this month that a British exit from the EU "could have consequences in turn for the U.S. economic outlook."

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Brexit: Warnings about global economic fallout reaches fever pitch

Warnings about global economic fallout if Britain votes to leave the European Union are reaching fever pitch a day out from the so-called Brexit referendum.

In an op-ed in the Guardian, billionaire currency trader George Soros said a "Leave" vote could severely damage British living standards and potentially trigger a major crash in the British pound.

Mr Soros flagged the flight out of the sterling could trigger a plunge of between 15 and 20 per cent, with a "Black Friday" a possibility if Britain votes to leave the European Union.

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The (compelling) case against Brexit

Europe's travails run wide and deep. The European Union has careened from one financial crisis to the next. The exodus of migrant refugees from the Middle East and North Africa has overwhelmed EU nations and stoked caustic nationalism across the continent. Terrorist attacks in Paris and Brussels have further eroded what once was Europe's rock-solid sense of security.

Europe's struggles serve as the disquieting backdrop for Thursday, when voters in the United Kingdom head to the polls to decide whether to leave the EU for good — a pivotal decision in British and European history. A vote to "Brexit" the EU would require ratification by Parliament, but that ratification would be likely.

As troubled as Europe is, the best choice for Britons is to vote no on Brexit.

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Singapore political figures express concerns after Brexit vote

Political figures in Singapore have expressed their views after a historic referendum which shows that UK would leave the European Union (EU) on Friday.

Grace Fu, Minister for Culture, Community and Youth said that the effects of the referendum would soon to be seen.

"The effects on the real economy will come quickly and last for years as investors and businesses work through the possible ramification...UK will have to deal with a messy situation that will cast a dark shadow on the global economy. Brace for gloomier outlook," said Fu.

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UK votes to leave the EU

The UK has voted to leave the EU by 52% to 48%. Leave won the majority of votes in England and Wales, while every council in Scotland saw Remain majorities.

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related: SINGAPORE NATIONAL REFERENDUM 1962