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Brexit is an English neologism formed from the first two letters of the word "Britain" and the word "exit". It refers to the United Kingdom's leaving the European Union.

The United Kingdom (UK) government applied to the European Council for leaving the European Union (EU) on June 23, 2016. The UK left the EU on January 31, 2020 at 11 p.m. GMT.

There was a transition period from February 1 to December 31, 2020. During the Brexit transition period, the European Union citizens' law still continued to be applied in the United Kingdom.

The U.K. and the EU signed a preliminary Trade and Cooperation Agreement (TCA) on December 24, 2020. It guarantees trade without tariffs and quotas for both sides. But the main details of the future coexistence have not yet been defined. However, 80% of the UK economy is services, preventing a "no-deal" Brexit that would have caused significant damage to the UK economy.

The preliminary agreement for free trade was approved by the British Parliament on January 1, 2021, and by the European Parliament on April 28, 2021. In spite of the fact that the agreement allows goods to be traded without tariffs and quotas, both sides still face customs inspections. Trade doesn't go as smoothly as it was when the U.K. was a member of the EU.

Brexit influence on Scotland's independence referendums

Scottish politicians had wanted one more referendum for independence after the Brexit vote, but the June 8, 2017 election resulted in their disappointment. The Scottish National Party (SNP) lost 21 seats in the Westminster Parliament. Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon made an announcement on June 27, 2017. It was said that the government in Holyrood would draw up a new independence scheme to ensure a "soft Brexit."

The UK Electoral Commission data shows that none of Scotland's local areas voted in favor of leaving the EU, although Moray was close to voting at 49.9%. We can conclude that the country rejected the referendum (62.0% vs. 38.0%). Scotland has only 8.4% of the British population, its vote and Northern Ireland's vote for exit were only 2.9%. The votes of England and Wales supporting Brexit greatly exceeded this number.

Brexit tests the union to destruction

Great Britain was formed by the union of Scotland with England and Wales in 1707. Looking at history, their relationship has not always been peaceful. In the 1930s the SNP was formed. In 2010 it had only 6 seats out of 650 in Westminster. The very next year, the SNP was already in a government majority in the Scottish Parliament at Holyrood. This was promoted by the promise to vote in the referendum of Scotland independence.

In 2014, the pro-independence side lost with 44.7% of the vote (turnout was 84.6%). This vote boosted support for the Nationalists. The next year, the SNP became the third largest party in Britain (56 of the 59 Scottish seats in Westminster), passing the Lib Dems.

Britain voted to leave the EU, incurring the wrath of Scotland. Because of growing nationalism and European support, there have been demands for a new referendum on independence. On November 3, 2017, the Supreme Court declared that autonomous national councils, such as the Scottish Parliament, could not veto Brexit. Demands intensified. On March 13, 2017, Sturgeon appealed for a second referendum in Fall 2018 or Spring 2019. Holyrood voted 69 in favor, 59 against.

What will independence look like

The future of Scotland's independence is in doubt because of the economic situation. Oil price slump has severely damaged state finances. May 2014 forecasted tax revenues from North Sea drilling for 2015-2016, but collected less than 1% of the median forecast. The real numbers are difficult to calculate, but the estimates are based on the nation's geographic share of North Sea drilling. They can forecast what the country might get as an independent country.

Disputes over the currency to be used by the people of an independent Scotland have begun. Former SNP leader Alex Salmond, who was Scotland's first minister until November 2014, answered to the Financial Times that the country could have its own currency, which would be pegged to sterling or have its own currency. Many people argue that it would be necessary to use the euro for Scotland to join the EU. Others, however, believe that it would be possible to continue using sterling, but that would lead to a loss of control over monetary policy.

Who will be next to leave the EU

The political race against Europe is not only a British issue. Many EU member countries are Eurosceptic. These countries have significant influence on the national political process, despite their powerlessness at the national level. Some of them have a chance to push for referendums on EU membership.

According to the IPSOS survey, in May 2016, a majority of participants in Italy and France expressed support for referendums on EU membership.

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