Sunday, March 27, 2016

Brexit, short for “British exit” and costly for Great Britain and Europe

The portmanteau Brexit stands for “British exit.” This term mirrors the abbreviation Grexit, referring to the (potential) withdrawal of Greece from the Eurozone. While the Grexit, debated in context of the Greece debt crisis—and not wished for by most Greeks—has (for now) been avoided, the Brexit depends on the United Kingdom European Union membership referendum scheduled for June 23, 2016. The referendum will take place in the United Kingdom and Gibraltar.

If the majority of Britons are going to vote in favor of a Brexit, Great Britain will—more or less—be deprived of an active role in shaping the world around its isles. Escaping European bureaucracy and stepping aside EU regulations will not help in turning unwelcome constraints into advancing strategies.

For example, leaders in the U.K.'s biotech industry argue that a Brexit would create a significant research funding gap for biotech companies, since the U.K. contributes about 12% to the EU budget dedicated for science research, but receives 15% of that budget. And [1]: “A Brexit would also require a new U.K. drug authorization system and the uprooting of the London-based European Medicines Agency to an EU country.”

A large number of scientist, including Stephen Hawking, are concerned about the United Kingdom leaving the European Union [2]. The clock is ticking. Europe and the world is watching!

Keywords: plebiscite, British Euroscepticism, European Union.

[1] Alex Scott: Industry urges against Brexit. Chemical & Engineering News March 7, 2016, 94 (10), page 8.
[2] What would Brexit mean for Science?