United Kingdom Will Likely Vote On Whether To Stay Or Leave The European Union This Year

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British Prime Minister David Cameron says that if the people of the United Kingdom vote to leave the European Union during a referendum this year, he is prepared to make the exit work. Cameron has publicly stated that he will try to secure a deal at the summit in February on changes to the relationship with the European Union, a change that he believes will be necessary for Britons to continue to support membership. In fact, officials with the EU say that portions of the deal are already secured and British citizens should expect a referendum shortly after summer.

The Wall Street Journal stated that the people of the United Kingdom will likely be voting on whether to stay in, or leave the European Union by the end of summer. The move comes as Prime Minister David Cameron promises to try and renegotiate the relationship between the U.K. and the EU at an upcoming summit in February.

Current reports suggest that if Britons are given the opportunity to vote on the referendum this summer, they would vote to remain in the EU. Studies suggest that only 36 percent of Britons would vote to leave the EU as things currently stand. According to Reuters, despite studies suggesting British citizens would vote to keep their EU membership, Cameron is still preparing for an exit should it be necessary.

Cameron notes that he thinks leaving the EU would be a bad decision; however, he says that if that is what the British public wants, he would obey the decision and prepare accordingly.

“The British public will make their decision. We must obey that decision whatever it is. I don’t think that (exit) is the right answer… Were that to be the answer, we would have to do everything necessary to make that work.”

Though Cameron claims he would try to make an exit work if the public voted to leave the European Union, Arron Banks, co-founder of ‘out’ campaign group Leave.EU, says that Cameron can’t be trusted with pinning a deal that is best for the British people when dealing with the EU because he has no real exit plan. Banks says that with no real plan for a withdrawal, Cameron has no leverage in the meetings.

“David Cameron’s lack of a plan for withdrawal tells the EU, and voters, that he has no intention of leaving, guaranteeing that the deal he does finally produce won’t be worth the paper it’s written on.”

Though studies suggests a withdrawal vote is unlikely, if a vote does come up this summer it will likely cause some uncertainty and cause the financial sector to suffer. The WSJ points out that the greatest impact of the vote would be in Great Britain itself. The main concerns surround political instability as citizens may not trust Prime Minister David Cameron with the exit considering he has been a vocal supporter of remaining in the EU. Secondly, it could destabilize the peace process in Northern Ireland which is currently being held together by creating a neutral space for discussion. Lastly, concerns about financial and trade relations between the EU and UK could arise.

What do you think about the potential of a referendum in the United Kingdom on whether to stay or leave the European Union? If Britons voted to leave the EU, what types of issues could arise in the close-knit region? Could the EU survive if the UK pulled out? Let us know your thoughts in the comments section below.

[Image via AP/Geert Vanden Wijngaert]