Three years after Britain’s EU departure, the country is reevaluating the benefits of Brexit that Michel Barnier, the former EU negotiator, expressed from the start. The UK economy is shrinking and a net figure of -27% suggests that citizens have become more negative about the economic effects of Brexit. As the clock ticks on, the debate between the UK and the rest of the continent has shifted and the proportion of voters who want to rejoin the EU has risen to about 58%.
Brexit was a decision about democracy and the ability to make decisions for ourselves, and the UK is now facing the consequences of this decision. As the UK public opinion turns, the reality of the banal complications of life outside the bloc is becoming increasingly apparent. From nursery owners to pet food companies, businesses are feeling the strain of the complexities of cross-border trade. The International Monetary Fund’s missive last week added grist to the mill that Brexit’s economic promises have been mis-sold.
Brexiters have shifted their arguments from economic boosterism to accepting that economic problems are a byproduct, at least for now. Instead of economic boosterism, three broad arguments are deployed: that it is too early to judge Brexit, that it has been implemented badly and that Brexit was only ever a question of sovereignty.
The UK’s goods trade is 7% lower than it would have been had the remain campaign won in 2016 and the Office for Budget Responsibility stands by a prediction that Brexit will cause a long hit to GDP per capita of 4%. As UK public opinion turns, the attractiveness to voters in other member states of their nations quitting the EU has declined markedly.
As the UK faces the consequences of Brexit, the country is reevaluating the benefits of leaving the EU. The economic promises of Brexit have been mis-sold and the reality of the banal complications of life outside the bloc is becoming increasingly apparent. With the UK’s goods trade 7% lower than it would have been had the remain campaign won in 2016, the country is coming to the same conclusion about the benefits of Brexit that figures like Barnier expressed from the start.