Daily VideoApril 11, 2019
Brexit explained: Background and latest news
Directions: Read the summary, watch the videos and answer the discussion questions below. You may want to turn on the “CC” (closed-captions) function and read along with the transcript here. You may also wish to read the article “EU agrees to postpone Brexit until Oct. 31.” Perhaps before you do anything, you may want to watch this Brexit explainer video (11-mins; or this video: 4 mins) which may be more suitable for high school students (be sure to preview all videos always!). This video is perhaps better suited for middle school students, which also gets into the Irish border question, a huge cause of the difficulty.
Summary: Both Britain and the European Union agreed early Thursday to extend the deadline for Brexit to Halloween. Brexit refers to the withdrawal of the United Kingdom from the EU following a referendum vote by the British people on June 23, 2016. Almost 52 percent of the country voted to leave the EU, triggering a two-year process in accordance with Article 50 of the Treaty on European Union. According to this agreement, Britain was to begin the process of leaving the EU on March 29, 2019. But just three days before, the British Parliament voted for a third time to reject Prime Minister Theresa May’s Brexit deal, pushing Brexit down the road. Those hoping for withdrawal include ‘Euroskeptics’ or ‘Brexiteers’ from both the left and the right. Pro-Europeanists, also from the left and the right of the political spectrum, would like to remain in the EU. “’Please, do not waste this time,” European Council President Donald Tusk pleaded. He said the EU was giving Britain six more months “to find the best possible solution’ to its Brexit impasse.”
Prime Minister May lost by a smaller margin than before and will continue to push Parliament to approve the UK to divorce from the EU. Parliament leaders are divided over the Prime Minister’s decision. May is also receiving pressure from pro-Brexit demonstrators who say that the UK should have left already.
1) Essential questions: Why is Brexit dividing Britain? What is the impact on the rest of the world?
2) What are the potential effects if Prime Minister Theresa May fails to strike a deal with Parliament?
3) Many conservatives disagree with May’s version of Brexit because they believe it is too “soft” and does not do a good job extricating Britain from the EU’s policies in trade deals and migration. What are the implications of Brexit for Britain’s immigration system? How do you think British perceptions of immigration and foreigners will change after it leaves the EU?
4) Media literacy: In a story like Brexit, why is it particularly important to get your news from multiple outlets?
1. Watch the video, “Brexit explained: What happens when the UK leaves the EU?” or read the BBC article “Brexit: All you need to know about the UK leaving the EU.”
*What does Brexit mean for trade relations with the US? How will our relationship with Britain change after Brexit?
*What are the advantages and disadvantages of a hard Brexit versus a softer approach? Which one do you believe is better? Why?
2. Check out “In the UK, Brexit supporters feel their will is being thwarted” to hear directly from British citizens about how they feel about Brexit. Read the transcript here.
3. If you’re not sure about the difference between the United Kingdom, Great Britain and England, you are not alone. Check out the video here (most suited to high school students).
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