The United Kingdom´s withdrawal from the European Union, known as Brexit and voted by the British people, represents a challenge for the EU that, contrary to the idea of an integrated Europe, is losing one of its most emblematic members. The list of challenges is long.
It has to be recognized that the process followed the democratic principles where majority imposes its will. And that is what happened in the referendum held on June 2016 to decide whether the UK should leave or remain in the European Union, and last week, when members of Parliament rejected Theresa May´s Brexit deal. That deal included measures intended to soften the separation for both parties.
Brexit poses challenges for the EU since they share many interests such as laws, political decision-making, response to the terrorist threat as well as trade and tariff issues, public health, agricultural quotas and fishing quotas among others.
As for the UK, the withdrawal will immediately affect the Republic of Ireland that remains in the EU. Irish citizens have kept trading relationships and done business with North Ireland and they have also traveled there without a passport or going through customs. Now, since the UK is leaving the EU, the 500-kilometre land border between Northern Ireland and Ireland would see controls to the open movement of people and goods. And that is a delicate matter for a country that suffered violence and conflict for decades and that was resolved through a hard peace-making process 20 years ago.
Some UK´s major economic sectors supported Brexit arguing that restrictions imposed by the UE were affecting the financial sphere and constraining the finances of its countries members. Once Brexit won, those same sectors have concentrated on opposing to any agreement intended to soften the withdrawal process.
Finally, the debate and vote in the Parliament ended up in a defeat for the Brexit deal and left the door open for an abrupt withdrawal due on March 29.
Populist and ultra-nationalist leaders around the world, and even in Europe, are carefully watching the outcome of this crisis. UK, a country with a long democratic tradition, with a powerful financial sector known as the City, in London, would probably start implementing changes that may range from adjustments to the banking system to different ways of doing business and tougher restrictions to migration issues.
And that is precisely the uncertainty, a great concern for the rest of the European countries and the international community. Right now, it is difficult, to see the movements leading to the UK leaving the powerful European Union. Let alone, the consequences of the reckless Brexit path.
Either way, there are lessons to learn from Brexit, particularly regarding they way that essential components such as economy and borders are organized as part of the relationship with other nations.