Financial News

When A Vote To Leave The EU Only Means Maybe

Millions of British voters are voicing their regret at deciding to leave the European Union already.

A petition calling for a second referendum has already collected 3 million signatures and Jeremy Hunt, one of the front runners in the Tory leadership poll is arguing a second referendum may be needed to finalise any Brexit negotiations.

He explained the referendum only covered whether Britain should leave the EU and a second referendum for the electorate to confirm Brexit terms might be a good idea.

That view might not go down well with the 52% who voted in favour of Brexit, but Britain has no constitutional law making the referendum binding and EU governments have ignored referendum results before.

In 1992, Denmark had a vote on whether to accept the Maastricht Treaty, which was an effort by many EU countries to trigger more federal integration.

Ireland votes no – twice

Denmark voted no by a slender majority of 0.3%.

The EU did not want Denmark to leave and returned with a list of concessions to encourage the nation to remain. Another referendum in 1993 agreed to accept the treaty.

Ireland has had two European referendums.

In 2001, the Maastricht Treaty was amended by the Nice Treaty and Irish voters went to the polls to and turned down the terms but later agreed in 2002 after reassurances and concessions from the EU. The treaty was mainly about realigning each nation’s voting powers within Europe.

In 2008, more concessions, more reassurances and Ireland eventually agreed to accept the treaty a year later. The issue was that Ireland had not been allowed to vote over the Lisbon Treaty that decided the EU constitution.

Grexit horse trading with Germany

Before Brexit, the big referendum that sent shockwaves around the Eurozone was Grexit.

In 2015, the people of Greece threatened to leave the Euro in favour of self-determination. The country voted to return to the drachma but to remain in the EU.

After more horse trading and political resignations, the EU again returned with concessions that the Greeks accepted.

If history does repeat, Britain could well see the EU asking the country to stay and offering concessions over immigration and sovereignty. Only time will tell.

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