What is at stake?
The results of the 2016 Brexit referendum took everyone by surprise, and nobody had really run the numbers about what leaving the EU would mean. The Leave campaign said abandoning the EU would bring a financial windfall, but it’s now clear there will be large costs. The U.K. contributes about $10 billion more to the EU budget than it gets from the EU in public service funding, rebates, and payments to farmers, and that money will now stay home. But those savings will be swallowed up by costs related to Britain’s loss of access to the EU single market. Financial firms in London, and other service industries, which account for nearly 80 percent of British GDP, are expected to lose $47 billion a year once Brexit goes through. All told, 44 percent of British exports go to the EU, while just 8 percent of EU exports go to the U.K. With the U.K. desperate to preserve some kind of viable access to EU markets, the EU is in a much stronger bargaining position and has so far refused to yield at all on its core demands.
A road sign in Ireland, near the border with Northern Ireland