20th Century Maps
Maps of the World

European Union

The European map is looking like it is going to change in the next ten years with former London mayor and former Conservative MP Boris Johnson winning the upcoming UK general election. Prime Minister David Cameron's government has agreed to trigger Article Fifty by the end of March, but this process will take a year and there is no guarantee that the EU will agree to accept changes to its borders and rules.  example However, it looks as if it is likely that Mr. Johnson will push for an EU exit in the coming years. According to him, it is not about being left behind by the rest of Europe. In his book 'How to Win Back the West', he argued that the EU is outdated, inefficient, and unable to stand up to today's global economic challenges. In fact, the UK and other European countries are doing just fine when compared with China, India, Russia, Brazil, Turkey, and the US. However, many experts are skeptical about whether or not Mr. Johnson has the necessary experience to negotiate an exit agreement successfully.  description Many have warned against expecting the EU to agree to a new treaty before the UK leaves. They say that renegotiation with all the major EU member states may not bring about a successful settlement that will meet all UK demands.

The British Situation

The British political establishment appears divided on whether to continue to support the status quo or take advantage of the current situation by proposing new terms for continued membership. There are even warnings of a hardening of UK policy after it leaves the EU. If this happens, it could cause friction between London and Brussels even before the negotiations are completed. It is clear that the political leaders in London are now more committed to keeping the EU intact than they were a decade ago. That is probably because they realize that the UK will eventually leave the union and they will lose access to the single market.  figure However, they are also very worried about the negative economic impact that leaving the EU will have on the financial markets in the UK. For many, this is a case of a country that is trying to get what it can at the expense of others. After all, the UK is one of the largest economies in the world and the EU is one of the largest markets. Many see it as an unfair trade war with Germany and France, who are seen as the main drivers of the single currency. Although the UK has its own problems, other member states in Europe have made huge mistakes that will be hard to avoid.

Free Trade Agreements and The Single Market

When Britain leaves the EU, this means that it will no longer be part of the EU's free trade agreements and the single market. It will, therefore, be outside the customs union, which allows freedom of movement of goods, services, people, and capital.  recreation However, this is still a very valuable market for the country since it gives it access to the highly productive German car industry. Although most of its trading relationships are based on the euro, Britain will still need to negotiate special arrangements with the rest of the world, especially with the US. When it is out of the union, it will also need to have full access to the single market for financial services. Many believe that it may have a lot to gain from being an international financial center and a major financial center in the world. This is another reason why many believe that a UK exit would leave the UK weakened in the world economic arena and more vulnerable to international trade wars than ever before.