Brexit. It’s been the talk of the media for quite some time now. If you are in the US, then maybe not as much until the recent election. But it affects us all and I feel like I wouldn’t be truly writing about our lives if I didn’t mention it. I’m not one to follow politics much, but 2016 has been a very interesting political year all over the world.
I was definitely as shocked and saddened as everyone else when I opened my BBC app a little over a week ago to the news. While the European Union is not perfect (what governing system is??), there are many benefits that both sides reap and to divide them does not make good financial or practical sense.
The effects of Brexit are worldwide. Don’t be fooled into thinking that you are immune to it because of the distance or “that’s happening in Europe, not here”. It’s not true. The United Kingdom is one of the largest economies in the world and the separation from the EU is going to have huge financial repercussions around the world. The dollar, pound and euro have all been down since the announcement of results of the Brexit vote.
Let’s also mention how it will potentially affect citizen’s mobility and ability to immigrate to the other 27 nations that make up the EU. The majority of those who voted to exit were over the age of 50 and had lived their lives with free education and the opportunity to live and work anywhere within the EU. Now, those who voted to remain, the young, will have to suffer the consequences of that vote and will likely have significant limitations for their generation and those who follow. They are essentially being punished the longest for something that they did not want to happen.
And what of those European citizens that are already in the UK? What will happen to them? Will they be forced to leave and start over again somewhere else? If the UK is no longer a part of the EU, how will it affect the millions of non-British citizens living there whom up til now were doing so legally under the EU laws of free mobility?
So how will this affect us here in the Netherlands? It’s still all very unsure. Until the Prime Minister invokes Article 50, there won’t be any official withdrawal procedures started and supposedly that won’t happen until at least the fall when David Cameron officially is out of office. And after that, they have 2 years to come up with how they are going to break apart from the EU. However, many companies are already making decisions to move their European headquarters from London to other countries, stating that they cannot wait 2 years to see what will happen and that they need to make these decisions now.
We are fortunate that we carry dual nationality. We are lucky in that we have the ability to come home if things start to fall apart or to move elsewhere in Europe, though honestly things are not looking so bright on the other side of the pond either. However, many are not so lucky to have the opportunity that we do to go home or relocate elsewhere. There are many who will be essentially stuck in the UK – if the economy and job opportunities dry up, they won’t be able to work abroad as easily as they once were able to.
On a personal note, this is something that our international community has been talking about for a while. And while I’m sure that international schools are not the only ones that have talked about Brexit, I think they are often highly impacted from global events since they have students from all over the world going to school in their halls. Liam’s 3rd grade class had discussions about what Brexit meant, not just about the economical impact for the UK but also regarding the immigrants both living inside and outside the UK. They also did a poll and they overwhelmingly all agreed that the UK should have stayed in Europe. If only that could be brought to fruition. Both children have classmates that will definitely be affected by the outcome.
However, for us, our decisions will also rest upon what happens with the US election in November. I see Brexit as a foreshadowing of what is to come and it’s a very scary prospect. What can we learn from what happened to the UK? Well, it’s multifold. First and foremost – EVERY VOTE COUNTS!!! Secondly, do your research – like legitimate research, not FoxNews research. The most popular Google searches in the UK after the vote were things like “What is the EU?” and “What is Brexit?” are questions that really should have been asked BEFORE the election in order to make an informed decision.
Knuffels en kussen,