Posted 2 февраля, 13:14
Published 2 февраля, 13:14
Modified 2 февраля, 13:19
Updated 2 февраля, 13:19
On January 31, Britain celebrated the third anniversary of leaving the European Union.
However, there was no festive mood in the country. The brilliant prospects of creating a "global Britain" with growing influence in the world, a sovereign, rapidly developing economy, favorable trade agreements with the United States and other leading countries and tight control over migration, which the ideologists of Brexit drew before the 2016 referendum, have not been realized. In connection with the anniversary, many economists note that Brexit has become a significant factor in the UK lagging behind the largest economies in the world. It is the only one of the Group of Seven countries that has not yet reached the pre-pandemic level of GDP.
According to the IMF forecast, the volume of the British economy in the beginning of the year will decrease by 0.6%, unlike other countries of the "seven", in which growth is expected, albeit small. The British Budget Supervisory Authority (OBR) recently estimated that in the long term, the country's output will be 4% lower than what would be achieved within the EU, and the volume of trade with EU countries will be 15% lower. Investment in the British economy after the 2016 referendum grew more slowly than in the United States, Germany or France. Surveys among entrepreneurs clearly indicate that Brexit played an important role in this, lowering confidence in the business environment.
Political scientist Alexander Ivakhnik writes about what this situation can lead to in his channel:"Of course, the British conservatives who led the country to Brexit are still trying to radiate optimism.
Prime Minister Rishi Sunak, in a special statement on the occasion of the third anniversary of leaving the EU, noted that the country has made "tremendous progress" in using the opportunities opened by Brexit and is confidently paving a new path as an "independent nation". At the same time, he did not mention any problems that have arisen in connection with Brexit. And the chief architect of the exit from the EU, Boris Johnson, published a video in which he congratulated everyone on a "happy Brexit Day" and urged: "Let's put aside all this negativism and whipping up the gloom that I hear about Brexit. Let's keep in mind the opportunities that lie ahead."
However, the British, for the most part, do not share such rosy, but not based on anything hopes. It seems that in the past year there has been a serious shift in public opinion regarding Brexit. Sociologists' research shows that the steady majority of the country's residents have begun to consider Brexit a mistake. At the end of January, Focaldata conducted a survey involving 10,000 respondents in all constituencies of England, Scotland and Wales, during which the question was asked: "Did Britain do wrong by leaving the EU?". In 629 districts out of 632, the majority of respondents answered in the affirmative. In general, 37% of respondents fully agree with this opinion and 17% rather agree, only 19% completely disagree.
Another January poll showed that in the event of a new referendum, 58% of Britons among those who decided would vote for returning to the EU, 42% – against. A year ago, the ratio was 52% to 48%. According to the leading British expert on electoral sociology, Professor John Curtis, this change is explained by the fact that some of those who voted in 2016 for leaving the EU are changing their views – primarily under the influence of the negative economic consequences of Brexit. Based on various polls, Curtis calculated that at the beginning of 2021, on average, 9% of those who voted for withdrawal agreed that Britain would be better off staying inside the EU, and at the end of 2022 – already 16%. Finally, a survey conducted at the end of December 2022 revealed that 65% of Britons consider it necessary to hold a new referendum on EU membership. 22% said that it should be carried out now, 24% – within the next 5 years, 11% – in 6-10 years. 56% of respondents believe that leaving the EU has harmed the economy. Apparently, the disappointment in Brexit will increase. And although the Labor Party is now opposed to holding a second referendum, in case of a firm consolidation in power after new elections, their position may change".