“BREXIT,” a combination of “Britain” and “exit,” is the nickname for the British exit from the European Union (EU) that was submitted to a referendum in the United Kingdom on Thursday.
In the referendum, voters were asked: “Should the United Kingdom remain a member of the European Union or leave the European Union?”
In a shocking close-run vote, the British public decided to leave the European Union. The “Leave” campaign won by 52 percent, beating the “Remain” campaign, which drew 48-percent voter support.
What is the case for leaving?
A lot is implied in one of the campaign’s slogans, “Take control.” Britain’s loss of full authority over its economic policies and regulations has so rankled many of the country’s citizens that it has spawned an entire genre of urban legends over the years, called “Euromyths.”
These stories usually feature some aspect of classically British culture that is supposedly under threat. One claimed that double-decker buses were to be banned, while another suggested that fish and chips would have to be written in Latin on menus. The subtext is barely subliminal at all: Gray-suited Brussels bureaucrats are the enemy of Britishness, a threat to Britain’s identity in all its deep-fried, double-decker glory.
Though Britain has accepted a small number of refugees relative to other European countries, British tabloids have implied the country is being overrun by an uncontrollable “swarm” or “tide” of foreigners. Labor migration, particularly from Eastern Europe, has often been painted as economically threatening.
What will happen to Britain if it leaves?
Projections differ significantly over the precise economic effect, but there is a consensus that leaving would hurt Britain financially, at least in the short term.
Without access to the union’s open markets, Britain would probably lose trade and investment. And while the influx of migrant workers has created anxiety over British culture and identity, losing that labor force could lead to lower productivity, slower economic growth and decreased job opportunities, a study by Britain’s National Institute of Economic and Social Research found.
A Brexit could also quickly spawn, err, a “Scexit.” Nicola Sturgeon, the first minister of Scotland, has said that if Britain votes to leave the European Union, she will hold a new referendum in which Scots could vote to exit Britain — and then rejoin the union as an independent nation.
Scotland’s voters rejected such a measure by nearly 10 points in 2014, but analysts say a Brexit could change that because the Scots overwhelmingly support European Union membership.
If Scotland were to leave, that could dramatically alter Britain’s political character, as Scotland’s members of Parliament lean to the left.
Brexit and the Philippine economy
April Lee-Tan, head of research of COL Financial, said fundamentally, Brexit should not have a significant direct impact on the Philippines.
“The UK is not part of the country’s top 10 export destinations—although the UK accounted for around $1.5 billion of our total OFW (overseas Filipino workers) remittances last year,” Tan said.
“The impact is more indirect as the uncertainty as to what would happen after a Brexit is causing people to switch to safe haven currencies—like US dollar, Japanese yen, Swiss franc—and safe haven financial products like sovereign bonds,” Tan said.
ING Bank Manila senior economist Joey Cuyegkeng said the UK decision might also affect Asia and the Philippines, as seen in the financial markets. “But major central banks and major governments are likely to moderate the impact of Brexit,” he said.
“We believe that the economy can withstand such external developments. Higher fiscal deficit spending focused on higher infrastructure spending and greater disposable incomes would likely keep Philippine economic growth in the area of 6-7 percent,” Cuyegkeng said.
Team Think Philippines – Research
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