In a surprising outcome, Brits voted on June 23 to pull the United Kingdom out of the European Union. This vote has shaken the UK, the EU and several other parts of the world, including the United States!
When officials revealed the results the following day, Prime Minister David Cameron, who strongly opposed leaving the EU, announced his resignation and will step down as the British leader in October. Ending Britain’s membership with the EU—a process that will actually take years—sent the value of the British pound to 30-year lows. And since the UK is such an economic powerhouse, the uncertainty of breaking away from the EU sent stock markets plummeting here in the United States, Australia, Japan and other places.
The EU was formed shortly after World War II as a trading and political partnership meant to help keep the peace between its members. Presently, 28 countries make up the EU, agreeing to follow its laws and rules. It acts as a single market, connecting its member nations as if they are one country, with goods and workers able to ow freely between European countries.
But some factions within the UK are not happy with the many EU rules and regulations, including how Brit- ish funds are being used. And they are unhappy with how the EU handles immigration. So in a move to leave the EU, the “Brexit” (a combination of Britain and exit) campaign launched, bringing about a vote on whether the UK should stay or go.
More than 30 million Brits voted in this Brexit referendum—the highest voter turnout in the UK since 1992. The UK is made up of the countries of Great Britain, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland. While Scotland and Northern Ireland voted to stay with the EU, the majority of voters were for Brexit and won 52 percent to 48 percent.
“I held nothing back. I was absolutely clear...that Britain is stronger, safer and better off inside the Euro- pean Union,” Cameron said in front of his residence at 10 Downing Street. “But the British people have made a very clear decision to take a different path, and as such I think the country requires fresh leadership to take it in this direction.”