image of Brexit and What It Means for Global Health
  • ISSN: 0002-9637
  • E-ISSN: 1476-1645


The results of a referendum held in the United Kingdom (UK) on June 23, 2016 in which 33 million voters decided by a margin of 51.9–48.1% to leave the European Union (EU) came as a shock to many in the UK who had been confident that this would not be the case, and was accompanied by a sense of disbelief among many outside the UK. Subsequent analysis has shown that the “leave” vote was highest in the oldest age groups, those with less formal education, and in areas outside the main metropolitan centers; young voters and residents of cities with a strong academic center were strongly in favor of “remain.” The vote provided a binary choice of leave or not, with no opportunity to consider the kind of arrangements that would follow a decision to leave. In the 18 months after the referendum, protracted discussions have taken place between the UK government and the European Commission on the nature of Brexit. Some progress has been made in these discussions on the “divorce bill,” the status of European citizens resident in the UK, and vice-versa, and on how the border between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland, which will remain in the EU, will be managed. Negotiations will now move onto broader issues such as trade, and these negotiations will include discussions on the future relationship between the UK and the EU on science and innovation. However, it is still not clear whether a final agreement will be reached before the UK leaves the EU on March 29, 2019 and, if an agreement is reached, what form this might take. If an agreement is reached, it is likely that some kind of transition period will be needed to allow the new arrangements to be implemented.

[open-access] This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.


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  • Published online : 05 Feb 2018
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