In a result that many ‘experts’ claimed would never happen, the United Kingdom voted to leave the European Union in June 2016. The most undemocratic club in the history of politics was formed in 1958 and, currently, consists of 28 member countries. The future for the UK is quite unclear as no country has ever left the EU before, to leave, Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty must be triggered, and then negotiations could take a maximum of two years. Throughout its membership of the EU, citizens of the UK have enjoyed freedom of movement that permits them to travel to other EU countries without the need of a visa.
Freedom of Movement
From a tourism perspective, freedom of movement may well be the thing that most UK residents are worried about, as currently it is easy to enjoy a last minute getaway in the likes of France, Spain and Germany without the need of a visa. However this might not necessarily be something that would be lost upon the UK’s exit from the EU. For example, Switzerland have always declined membership of the EU at every opportunity, however they do adhere to some laws as though they were members. The Swiss still have access to the single market and they also accept some freedom of movement. Switzerland are also members of the EHIC scheme that entitles European tourists to medical treatment on the same basis as residents. As many European countries still wish to trade with the UK, it seems likely we will remain in the single market and accept some freedom of movement.
Immediately following the referendum outcome, the British Pound took somewhat of a hammering. There was a slight over-reaction as currency fluctuates all the time, and in this instance it was just overcorrecting itself. But while the pound was low, this meant that other countries could take advantage and enjoy a break to the UK at a better value. Holiday companies also dropped their rates for UK residents. While this may only be temporary, it is still worth taking advantage of.
It would seem that the UK isn’t the only country fed up of being pushed around by the EU bureaucrats as a number of elections across mainland Europe could have a damning impact on the future of the club. Italy held a constitutional referendum at the start of December, and ahead of the vote, Prime Minister Matteo Renzi announced that he would tender his resignation if the outcome of the vote didn’t go his way. When the votes were counted, Italy voted ‘No’ by 59% and Renzi has resigned. This could well lead to an Italian General Election in 2017 where an anti-Euro currency party could well win. But in order to withdraw from the currency, they would also need to leave the EU.
Coincidentally France’s next election will be held in April of 2017, and with current François Hollande set to step down, they are guaranteed a new President. Marine Le Pen is the leader of the National Front party and considered to be a leading candidate in the Presidential race, Le Pen is admittedly a fierce opponent of the EU and could well offer a membership referendum should she win the Presidency.