Brexit: Where Did It Come From and Where Is It Going?

William James Adams


09/24/2020 4:00 pm



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On June 26, 2016, in a national referendum, after 43 years of membership, the United Kingdom voted to leave the European Union.  Among those who expressed a preference, 52% chose “Leave,” and 48% chose “Remain.”  After 3½ years of fitful negotiations, on January 31, 2020, the UK finally left the EU.  The future relationship between the EU and its disgruntled former member is not yet agreed.

How did this happen? In this lecture, Professor Adams will discuss several explanations of this outcome, various reasons why the negotiations over departure lasted so long, and potential scenarios for the future: of the UK, the EU, and the relationship between the two. He will draw on the history of the UK’s relationship to Continental Europe, on contemporary politics in the UK, and on the domestic economic policies of the UK before the referendum.

And what about Brexit’s impact on the United States?  How will the effects of the UK’s future relationship with the EU ripple across the Atlantic to America’s shores? This lecture will conclude by discussing the potential effects of Brexit on the American economy and on America’s policy stance in the global economic arena.