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WorldWhy Brexit, or Britain's exit from European Union, is so important but so tough to finish

15:06  04 april  2019
15:06  04 april  2019 Source:   usatoday.com

Irish and Scottish Nationalists Plotting to Break Up U.K. Over Brexit

Irish and Scottish Nationalists Plotting to Break Up U.K. Over Brexit Almost a century of rebellion against British rule in Ireland—including long periods of violent insurrection—failed to reunify the island under a single flag. But historians may look back on the 2016 Brexit referendum as the moment that ambition finally moved to within reach. require(["medianetNativeAdOnArticle"], function (medianetNativeAdOnArticle) { medianetNativeAdOnArticle.

British Prime Minister Theresa May and the opposition Labour Party are holding meetings this week to try to "break the logjam" over Britain's European Union exit – or Brexit. Here's a recap about what you need to know about Britain leaving the EU.

Brexit: Why is it called that?

It may sound like a breakfast cereal but the word "Brexit" is a combination of the words "British" and "exit." It was first coined by The Economist magazine in 2012 and emerged following Greece's potential departure from the EU as it struggled with a heavy government debt load. "Grexit" never happened, but it inspired the British abbreviation.

Formula One divided as Brexit threat zooms into view

Formula One divided as Brexit threat zooms into view The new Formula One season is under way but the action on the track is being overshadowed by concerns over the implications of Brexit.

What is the EU?

It's a trade and monetary club, essentially, that enables its member nations to send goods, services and people across the bloc's collective borders with minimal friction. The EU was founded in 1948 in the aftermath of World War II to promote stability and economic cooperation among countries that had fought two major wars. Today, the EU is comprised of 28 countries – 19 of which use the euro currency – and it has more than 500 million citizens who are entitled to live and work in any other EU country.

Why Brexit, or Britain's exit from European Union, is so important but so tough to finish© Provided by USA TODAY, a division of Gannett Satellite Information Network, Inc. A pro-EU protestor demonstrates opposite Houses of Parliament in London, on April 2, 2019.

Why is Brexit happening?

Former British Prime Minister David Cameron called the 2016 public vote on EU membership to appease right-wing, Euro-skeptic members of his ruling Conservative Party who had long agitated to leave the EU. They viewed it as a threat to Britain's sovereignty. Cameron believed the national referendum would easily reconfirm Britain's EU membership. He badly miscalculated. "Leave" won 52% to 48% over "Remain."

London protests cause gridlock as Brexit vote raises tensions

London protests cause gridlock as Brexit vote raises tensions Brexit supporters swarmed through the streets of London on Friday as lawmakers rejected Prime Minister Theresa May's EU withdrawal deal for a third time. Demonstrators blocked streets around the Houses of Parliament in central London as several groups of protesters converged on the day that the UK was originally meant to leave the European Union. Marchers carried placards, bearing slogans including "No deal is better than a bad deal," "Every nation has the right to self-determination" and "Leave means Leave." Others chanted "This country has turned into a dictatorship" and "we want our Brexit back.

Why is it taking so long?

There is no easy answer to this one. However, it can be boiled down to the fact that while Britain's electorate narrowly opted to discard decades of EU membership – it joined in 1973, when the EU was known as the the European Economic Community, or EEC – the majority of British lawmakers don't feel it is in the best interests of the country. The delay is also a result of Britain and the EU not being equal negotiating partners. The EU has the final say on all Brexit matters. May spent almost three years negotiating an exit arrangement that was acceptable to the EU's 27 other leaders. Many lawmakers don't like it, but have been unable to agree on what kind of deal they want instead.

Brexit was originally scheduled for March 29.

Brexit options: Stick close to EU, crash out, think again

Brexit options: Stick close to EU, crash out, think again Britain is running out of time and options for Brexit. U.K. lawmakers have three times rejected the divorce deal struck between Prime Minister Theresa May's government and the European Union. They also voted on a series of alternatives, from leaving the bloc without a deal to holding second referendum on Britain's EU membership. All the options were defeated. The U.K. now faces a deadline of April 12 to present the EU with a new Brexit plan or crash out of the bloc that night. British lawmakers plan another round of votes Monday to see whether they can come to an agreement on a way for Britain to leave the bloc.

Parliament has rejected May's deal three times already.

What's so bad about May's deal?

Critical issues accompanying the country's EU divorce, such as how much Britain will need to pay to leave the bloc (about $50 billion), and what rights EU nationals in Britain will have after the separation (similar to what they have now, but they'll need to prove they are not a burden on the state) have proven less controversial with British lawmakers. The deal has fallen afoul of parliamentarians over the thorny question of the land border between Northern Ireland (part of Britain) and Ireland (part of the EU).

Years of EU-facilitated friction-less trade and travel across this border is viewed as a key cog in ensuring peace between the Irish Catholic and British Protestant communities in Northern Ireland. It underpins the Good Friday Agreement, the 1998 peace deal between the British and Irish governments and political parties in Northern Ireland.

The EU and May have signed off on a temporary measure, known as the "backstop," to keep this border open while Britain and the bloc negotiate a post-Brexit trade deal. Lawmakers are concerned that the "backstop" runs the risk of becoming permanent, a scenario that would, they fear, effectively keep Britain tethered to the EU indefinitely.

What Would a No-Deal Brexit Look Like?

What Would a No-Deal Brexit Look Like? Michel Barnier, the European Union’s chief Brexit negotiator, warned on Tuesday that Britain’s seeming inability to decide on an orderly departure agreement has made a so-called no-deal Brexit more likely with less than two weeks until April 12, the latest deadline. 

What happens if there's a 'no-deal' Brexit?

In short, Britain leaves the EU anyway because that is the default legal position. The EU has given Britain until April 12 to come up with a plan that is acceptable to lawmakers. If an agreement is not made by that date, Britain will leave the EU, only there could be considerable chaos because years of EU legislation that has covered everything from Britain's transportation policies to public health will more or less vanish overnight.

About 3.7 million non-British EU nationals, or 6% of the population, live in Britain and 1.2 million people born in Britain live in the 27 other EU countries. In the event of a "no-deal" Brexit, these nationals would have no formal legal status or working and residence rights. Business leaders have warned a "no-deal" Brexit would badly hurt commerce. There are also concerns about shortages of food and medical supplies.

More: 'Bewildering, dire, disastrous': Queen has a Brexit escape plan

What's happening now?

In recent days, lawmakers have voted on a range of Brexit alternatives in an attempt to find a compromise solution. These have included a "softer" form of Brexit that would allow Britain to keep closer trading ties to the EU and revoking Brexit altogether.

All the options have been voted down.

UK legislates to avert chaotic Brexit as May seeks new plan

UK legislates to avert chaotic Brexit as May seeks new plan Britain's Brexit drama went into overtime Wednesday as Prime Minister Theresa May and the country's main opposition sought a compromise deal to prevent an abrupt British departure from the European Union at the end of next week. In an about-face that left pro-Brexit members of May's Conservative Party howling with outrage, the prime minister sought to forge an agreement with left-wing Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn after failing three times to win Parliament's backing for her Brexit deal.

May, from the ruling Conservative Party, said Tuesday that the country needed "national unity to deliver the national interest" and offered to hold talks with opposition Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn in an attempt to find a compromise solution.

"This debate, this division, cannot drag on much longer," May said in a statement from 10 Downing Street, her official residence. The EU has scheduled an emergency summit in Brussels for April 10, two days before Britain's new Brexit deadline.

Ahead of that it's possible May could call a fourth vote on her EU exit deal.

Lawmakers are also considering adopting legislation that would force May to seek a further delay from the EU aimed at preventing a "no-deal" Brexit on April 12.

More: Theresa May’s EU Brexit deal rejected by Parliament a third time

Wait, didn't May already resign?

Kind of.

After May's EU exit deal was rejected the second time she vowed to quit if lawmakers would approve it in the third vote. They didn't. She's still Britain's prime minister, although unlike in the United States, Britain does not elect a leader but a party.

That means that if May does step down, her Conservative Party will still be in power as long as it can agree on who should replace her. If it can't, there will be an election.

More: Britain's Theresa May offers to step down to get Brexit deal passed

May is Britain's second female prime minister after Margaret Thatcher (1979-90) and made a name for herself while serving in Cameron's Cabinet as home secretary. In that role, she took a strict line on drug policy, immigration and fighting terrorism.

Brexit Enters the ‘Flextension’ Era. It Could Be Short.

Brexit Enters the ‘Flextension’ Era. It Could Be Short. LONDON — After months of tortured debate over Britain’s departure from the European Union, a new word has entered the jargon-strewn Brexit lexicon: “flextension.” It could hold the key to the next phase. Flextension is how insiders are describing the type of delay to Brexit that Prime Minister Theresa May now seems likely to seek from the bloc: a long extension that could be cut short if Parliament finally approves an exit deal. If it sounds dubious, it is nevertheless considered an improvement on an earlier term for the process, “terminability.” Sign Up For the Morning Briefing Newsletter Whatever it is called, analysts are far from sure that Mrs.

So when does Brexit end?

Nobody knows.

And while the term "Brexit" is a noun, it has morphed into something of a verb that is nothing if not a seemingly never-ending exercise in a political process.

Even if May's deal passes in a fourth vote, the Brexit process wouldn't be over.

The deal she is trying to get through Parliament is just a transition-period arrangement. Her successor would need to negotiate – depending on how "soft" or "hard" a Brexit deal emerges – post-EU trade deals and other aspects of British legislation pertaining to life outside the bloc from environmental protections to human rights.

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Why Brexit, or Britain's exit from European Union, is so important but so tough to finish

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Britain's Prime Minister Theresa May in Brussels to ask EU for another Brexit delay.
With just two days to go before Britain is due to leave the European Union the country faced a new crossroads: Will it get a new Brexit delay?

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