The EU referendum is on the news daily but many aren’t aware of how it works, what it’s asking, and what impact it will have. This article answers some key questions leading up to the vote.
On 23rd June 2016 UK voters will decide if the United Kingdom leaves the EU. The vote will impact the UK across multiple levels including economics, immigrations, and trade.
Similar to the fervent debates and discussions that surrounded the yes/no vote to Scottish independence in 2014, politicians and campaigners are pushing hard to get people to see the EU referendum from their point of view.
With voices speaking loudly from both sides, the details of the referendum itself can get lost in the passion. Here are some fast facts about the EU referendum.
Referendum is on 23rd June 2016
Vote is only about EU membership, other memberships not affected
All registered voters age 18 or older can vote
What a referendum is
A referendum is a simply phrased question that lets the voting public decide policy. In this case David Cameron promised to have a yes/no vote to decide if the UK stayed in the EU during the most recent election.
What this referendum is asking
The specific phrasing of this referendum is “Should the United Kingdom remain a member of the European Union or leave the European Union?” The two options will be ‘Remain a member of the European Union’ and ‘Leave the European Union’.
What the referendum is NOT
This vote is specifically about the UK’s membership in the European Union. Regardless of the outcome of this referendum, the UK will remain members of multiple other international organisations.
Most importantly the UK will remain a member of NATO (North Atlantic Treaty Organization) and the European Council. Remaining a member of the European Council means the UK is still under the European Convention of Human Rights.
The key issues of EU membership for the UK are immigration, trade, benefit requirements, membership fees of being a member of the EU, rules affecting UK businesses, and free movement of EU citizens.
Who wants to leave
There are two main campaigning groups for leaving the EU, Vote Leave and Grassroots Out. In addition to campaigning groups, there are major politicians advocating leaving. The leader of the UKIP party Nigel Farage, former London Mayor Boris Johnson, member of the government cabinet Iain Duncan Smith, and others have argued that the UK should leave the EU.
Who wants to stay
The biggest name who wants to stay in the EU is Prime Minister David Cameron. While his conservative party have committed to remaining neutral on the topic, Labour, SNP, and the Lib Dems are all in favour of staying. The biggest campaign for staying in the EU is Britain Stronger in Europe.
If you aren’t sure which side you want to vote for, CBJ News has an entire program on the EU that’s available on YouTube. It breaks down how the EU vote affects students, UK citizens, and sport.