Until recently, the current situation in the geopolitical arena of Europe has been represented by economic and political interactions between the largest interstate unit, the European Union, and countries outside it. However, the historical paradigm of the development of European powers demonstrates that allied states rarely remain partners for long, and the rupture of such diplomatic relations leads to severe external and internal metamorphoses. A similar description is characteristic of one of the most important and high-profile events of the early 21st century, namely Brexit. In general, Brexit should be understood as the voluntary withdrawal of the United Kingdom from the European Union, initiated in June 2016 (Holmes). Since then, the United Kingdom has entered a phase of complex and profound changes affecting all English and European society sectors. While the United Kingdom has not officially left the interstate Union, it continues to be a full part of the single economic space for the exchange of resources and useful knowledge. The post-exit phase initiated prolonged, severe, and wide-ranging discussions and diplomatic negotiations concerning the exit procedure and the dates to be set. Thus, according to official plans, the United Kingdom will cease to be part of the European Union on January 31, 2020, launching an 11-month global state metamorphosis process (Holmes). There is no doubt that this decision will be a real crisis for the whole world.
A Brief Overview of the United Kingdom
The United Kingdom occupies a critical geopolitical role in shaping the public and market agenda in Europe and the rest of the continents. By extending its influence over many African, Australian and American powers, the British authorities have built up a firm capacity of their authority and responsibility. Among others, this phenomenon is justified by the British monarchy’s historical legacy, with strongly developed industries and colonial subjugations bringing its resources and influence. With such a great historical background, the United Kingdom remains a great power, rightfully ranked high in countries’ leadership rankings.
A brief review of statistics is the best strategy for demonstrating the United Kingdom’s importance to the world. For example, according to Silver, this state ranks among the top 5 countries with the highest GDP and the top 10 in purchasing power parity. In terms of human development, which is a crucial part of today’s high-tech market and constitutes the state’s competitive advantage, United Kingdom confidently ranks fifteenth (Latest Human). At the same time, as of 2019, the island nation’s total population was 6.2 million people of British origin, more than half of whom are European migrants (International Trade Administration). Among others, this fact is justified by the fact that the capital of the United Kingdom is the largest city, London, with a total population of over 8.9 million residents (Clark). London characterizes itself as one of the world’s centers of modern trade and attraction of investment and human resources seeking career and financial development. Such data unequivocally justify the fact that the breakup of the former relationship between the United Kingdom and the European Union will have a negative impact on the demographic policy of both sides. Moreover, Brexit has the potential to disrupt the familiar way of life of Britons, significantly affecting all areas of public life, among which tourism, health care, market trade, and education will change the most. Ultimately, while the European Union and the United Kingdom continue to seek ways to develop long-term economic and diplomatic agreements, there is no doubt that Brexit will change everything.
National Health Care System
The state’s key objective is to provide a high level of quality health care services in a way that effectively raises the standard of living of the nation. To achieve such results, most developed countries of the world, including the United Kingdom, introduce national health care programs that make it easier for citizens to receive medical care. Another advantage of such a system is an increase in employment among the qualified medical population since greater demand for services generates an increase in market supply. The health care system formed in the United Kingdom, the NHS is an illustrative example of a successful and highly reliable health care program for the population. This is not surprising since during its existence — it was founded in the post-war era in 1948 — the program has undergone many qualitative transformations to form a more relevant, efficient service (Triggle). Today’s NHS is a comprehensive program that allows United Kingdom citizens to receive free care in clinical areas such as dentistry, ophthalmology, short- and long-term medical treatment, and services combined with first aid.
Such a tremendous success for the NHS could not but lead to an increase in the program’s appeal to applicants. In other words, large numbers of workers from Union states and the European Union have been invited to work in England, but Brexit has the potential to disrupt these connections. Thus, the current structure of employees is mostly British (13%), but nationals from the EU (5.6%) and residents of non-EU countries (7.5%) also make up a significant proportion (Holmes). Based on the above data, it seems clear that the termination of the agreements between the parties would result in a dramatic collapse of the NHS due to the lack of a workforce. Furthermore, according to strategic planning, new reforms are not expected before 2023 (Holmes). To avoid a crisis and maintain the efficiency of the NHS, the United Kingdom authorities took preventive measures, inviting a large number of employees from non-European Union states for employment. This policy’s outcome will be the continued effectiveness of the system, even because of the termination of European work visas (Clarence-Smith). However, it would also mean a strong dependence of health care in the United Kingdom on foreign labor availability. Finally, the severing of economic ties between the parties would lead to a sharp increase in European powers’ unemployment since expatriate medical certifications might not be considered in the Union.
Another vital component of the domestic and foreign policy of the United Kingdom is tourism, which is also expected to undergo a significant transformation because of Brexit. There is no doubt that adequate tourism, accompanied by an effective migration policy, builds the state’s reputation on the world stage and attracts more investment and labor from outside (Clarence-Smith). In addition, tourism is an essential category of revenue for the state treasury. Tourism is not a rare phenomenon for the United Kingdom either, since the historical, natural, and cultural diversity of the area attracts travelers. Some visit administrative offices and explore the history of the monarchy, while others choose museums and theaters. It is well known that the United Kingdom is famous for its rich museum diversity, which includes about 2,500 branches.
This fully justifies the high interest of citizens of the world in visiting England. According to the Statista Research Department, in 2019, the United Kingdom territory was visited by more than 40.9 million tourists, of whom about 60.6% were citizens of the European Union. The Brexit procedure will significantly impact the tourism agenda, making it more difficult for Europeans to enter the island nation. In turn, it can be expected that the decline in tourist flows will naturally affect the United Kingdom’s economy, causing a state of crisis.
The Economic Effect of Brexit
It is expected that the financial consequences of the exit of the United Kingdom from the European Union will be the most devastating for both sides. As mentioned earlier, the island kingdom is an important element of the geopolitical agenda, and its capital, London, attracts a tremendous amount of investment and labor. In some ways, this is surprising since the United Kingdom itself is not a large state and has a comparatively small size and a population of 65 million people (International Trade Administration). In addition, as far as employment is concerned, the United Kingdom has had a positive tendency to build up foreign intellectual capital, mainly from EU countries. Thus, according to national statistics, as of 2019, over 2.3 million EU residents worked in the country, an average of 36,000 more than in 2018 (Watson). The breakdown in economic relations will affect employment and will legitimately reduce the population. Thus, it is acceptable to expect that once Brexit is complete, the United Kingdom will enter a stage of economic decline or stagnation, with a noticeable reduction in the workforce, availability of resources, and purchasing power.
To summarize, it is appropriate to emphasize that Brexit will mark one of the most important diplomatic events of the 21st century. There is no doubt that the United Kingdom’s withdrawal from the European Agreement will cause radical changes on both sides’ levels of life. In particular, as discussed in the paper, Brexit will reduce tourists’ flow, reduce the representation of the European labor force in the local market, and legitimately reduce the country’s income. The abolition of work, study and tourist visas will also affect the region’s investment appeal. However, it is erroneous to conclude that Brexit will bring only adverse effects. Such a policy, if intelligently managed, can promote protectionism and improve the domestic economic performance of the United Kingdom.
Clarence-Smith, Toby. ” The Impact of Brexit on the Financial Services Sector.” Finance, n.d.
Clark, D. “Population of London (UK) 1981-2019.” Statista, 2021.
Holmes, Jonathon. “Brexit and The End of The Transition Period: What Does it Mean for the Health and Care System?” TheKing’sFund, 2021.
International Trade Administration. ” United Kingdom – Market Overview.” Export.Gov, 2019.
“Latest Human Development Index Ranking.” HDR, 2020.
Silver, Caleb. ” The Top 25 Economies in the World.” Investopedia, 2020.
Statista Research Department. “Inbound Visits from the European Union to the United Kingdom (UK) 2011-2019.” Statista, 2020.
Triggle, Nick. “The History of the NHS in Charts.” BBC, 2018.
Watson, Bob. “UK and Non-UK People in the Labour Market: February 2020.” Office of NS. 2020.