What is Brexit and How Will It Affect Me?

You may have heard the term Brexit used for a couple of years now, but what does Brexit mean and how might it affect young people living in Scotland?

What is Brexit?

Brexit (British-exit) is the popular term given to the process of the UK leaving the European Union (EU).

What is the EU?

The EU is the political and economic union of 28 European countries. Members of the EU share free trade and free movement of people. This means citizens of EU member states (such as France or Spain) can travel freely and live, work and study in another member state without the need of a formal visa or other legal documentation, other than a passport. The UK joined the EU in 1973 and will be the first member state to leave.

How did Brexit happen?

A referendum (a vote where the public are normally asked to vote between two options on a political issue) took place in the UK in June 2016. 52% of voters across the UK voted for the UK to leave the EU, whilst 48% voted for the UK to remain within the EU.

In Scotland, 38% of voters voted for the UK to Leave the EU, and 62% voted for the UK to remain in the EU. However, only the UK government can pass laws on immigration, foreign policy, trade and industry and the constitution.

What is Article 50?

Article 50 is part of an EU treaty (an agreement kind of like a contract) that sets out how EU member countries can leave.

Article 50 was triggered by Theresa May while she was the UK Prime Minister in March 2017. Since then the deadline has been extended a number of times. This was because in order to agree a deal with the EU, Members of Parliament (MPs) in the House of Commons had to vote to approve the PM’s deal first.

The current PM, Boris Johnson, put a deal forward that was passed by MPs in December 2019. This meant the deadline was extended to January 31st 2020 and formalised as the date that the UK would legally leave the EU.

What will happen on January 31st 2020?

The UK will no longer be a member of the EU after 11pm on the January 31st 2020.

There will be a transition period until the 31st December 2020, while the UK and EU negotiate additional arrangements. The current rules for the UK and EU will continue to apply during this time.

What might change after the transition period?

The transition period gives the UK and the EU time to arrange a new free trade agreement and after this period, the UK will leave what is known as the single market and customs union.

Other aspects of the future relationship between the UK and the EU will also need to be decided. Some of the things that will be affected are laws, data and security, the regulation of medicines and air transport.

What is the single market and customs union?

A free trade agreement and being part of the EU single market and customs union allows goods to move around the EU without extra checks or charges.

If the UK and EU don’t come to an agreement, the UK will have to trade with no deal in place – which you might hear some people refer to as a ‘no-deal Brexit’. This will mean taxes on UK goods travelling to the EU, as well as other trade barriers.

How will I be affected by Brexit?

If you’re a British citizen living in the UK, an EU citizen living in the UK or a British citizen living in Europe, you may have different concerns about how Brexit might affect your everyday life.

For British citizens, certain laws, travel within Europe and taxes may change. For more information, visit The Scottish Government’s website.

EU citizens currently living in the UK will have to apply to the EU Settlement Scheme by 30th June 2021 if they want to keep living in the UK after this date.

You can find out more info from The Scottish Government.

Will my Young Scot Card be affected?

Brexit won’t affect your Young Scot National Entitlement Card (Young Scot NEC) entitlements or the quality of the information you receive

Your Young Scot NEC not only gets you money off online and in stores across Scotland, but throughout continental Europe too! Your card doubles-up as a European Youth Card – which entitles you to Discounts in over 30 countries who are also part of the European Youth Card Association (EYCA). If you are visiting Scotland with your EYCA branded youth card from one of the European Youth Card network members, you will still be able to access discounts in Scotland.

Check out what Discounts are available in Europe with your Young Scot card.

Young Scot is also part of the European Youth Information and Counselling Agency (ERYICA) and follows the principles of the European Youth Information Charter which is all about guaranteeing young people’s rights to factual, trustworthy, reliable information. This also will remain unaffected by Brexit.

For more information about Brexit, visit Gov.UK.