Brexit One Year On

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One year after the UK left the EU trading area, we pause to assess the impact.

  • It’s been a year since Brexit truly took effect, when following a period of transition, the UK left the EU’s trading arrangements at the start of 2021.
  • It’s now abundantly clear, however, that Brexit is far from over. Many of the terms of the UK and EU’s post Brexit relationship are yet to be determined and still under negotiation.
  • In fact, there’s no end in sight to the long and costly process of economic disentanglement of the UK and the EU. But some of the consequences are nevertheless already clear.
  • UK trade with the EU has dropped, and new customs procedures have created bureaucratic headaches for businesses on both sides.
  • A new customs border had also served to reignite tensions in Northern Ireland about whether the region should be part of the Republic of Ireland — which is in the EU — or the UK.
  • One of the most tangible impacts of Brexit thus far has been labor shortages in the UK — particularly the loss of truckers from Eastern Europe — which in turn have disrupted supply chains.
  • Analysts assess the long term economic cost of Brexit on the UK to be around 4 percent of its GDP, and polls suggest that a majority of people in the UK think Brexit has turned out badly.
  • Still, the UK public remains close to evenly divided when asked whether they’d still vote for Brexit today, making clear that the Brexiteer vow to “take back control” still resonates with many.
The Economist
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