A lot has happened in the almost 4 years since the EU referendum in June 2016 with ,two general elections, one European parliament election ,extensions to Brexit deadlines and three different Prime ministers but tonight at 11pm the UK will leave the European Union after over 40 years of membership.
When did the UK join the EU?
The pre-cursor to the EU, the European Economic Community was started in 1957 and included countries such as Belguim ,France and Italy although the UK did not join until much later , joining the European Economic Community (EEC) alongside Ireland and Denmark in 1973. In 1975, the UK had a referendum to decide whether to remain within or withdraw from the EEC, over 67% of voters voted “Yes” to remain within the European Economic Community.
The 1990’s was a fairly significant period in the UK’s relationship with the EU , the Mastrichit treaty was signed by then Prime Minister Sir John Major, this treaty was significant for a number of reasons such as creating a policy about how a country would be able to choose to use the Euro as its currency and also the fact it changed the name of the group from the previously mentioned EEC to what is now more commonly recognised as the European Union or EU.
In 1999,the UK had another opportunity to elect politicians to the European Parliament and elected figures such as prominent Brexiteer Nigel Farage, who was a UKIP candidate at the time , and Professor Sir Neil MacCormick the former Vice president of the SNP was also elected to the European Parliament for the first time.
Despite the emphasis on today’s date by politicians, the transition period until December 31st later this year means that not much change will be visible tomorrow, with many arrangements remaining the same until 2021 whilst the Prime Minister enters trade negotiations with the EU . However , some things have changed, the UK officially no longer has any MEP’s in the European Parliament and there is now a special coin being circulated to mark the UK’s departure from the EU.
Some views from fellow students
I asked some fellow students if they had any plans to mark “Brexit deadline day” and what their thoughts were about the future.
Mark,21 said “I think i’ll just have a night in, i’m curious to see how it (Brexit) goes though because that will decide a lot of other things such as if i want to campaign to rejoin the EU and may help my decision on any future indyref2”
Sarah, 19, admitted a sense of excitement “As im only 19 i didn’t get a chance to vote in the original referendum but i suppose being inside the EU is all most of my generation have ever known so im quite excited about some of the opportunities that Brexit may create”
Feature Image Credit: Public Domain Pictures