<!––>What was “Brexit” and why did it happen?
Brexit (short for “British Exit”) was the nickname given to the movement to persuade the British government to pull Britain out of the European Union (EU). A nationwide referendum — only the third in modern history in Britain — took place on June 23, 2016, and by a close vote of 52% to 48% British voters asked their government to negotiate a deal to leave the EU.
The idea of creating a single, common market across Europe began in the aftermath of World War II. A slow effort, but by 1993, a single market was created covering 28 countries. Borders were opened and visas for travel and work permits abolished. An important milestone was the development of the European Monetary Union in 1999 which, by 2002, had converted 19 of the 28 countries (defined as the “eurozone”) over to a single currency, the euro. Britain was a party to the EU, but it did not choose to participate in the eurozone, and thus preserved its use of its home currency, the pound.
While Britain, like most of the other EU countries, benefited economically from a common market, Britain has never been as comfortable with some of the political aspects of the EU. Long-term immigration trends and their recent acceleration under the EU have stoked strong nationalist feelings in Britain, leading to the political movement to exit the EU.
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