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Month: January 2020

Leaving the European Union – 31st of January 2020

This is not a political blog, and I do not intend it to become one, so this will not address the rights and wrongs of Brexit, nor my personal opinions. Instead, it focuses on answering the questions I hear a lot, especially from my fellow Americans.


First, some background. The UK (the United Kingdom of England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland) joined the European Communities (the EC) on 1st of January 1973. The European Communities were three different communities that were all governed by the same set of institutions. From 1st of January 1973 until 31st of January 2020, the UK remained a member of the European Communities. The European Communities were renamed the European Union (EU) when the Maastricht Treaty entered into force on 1 November 1993.

The European Union is a complicated supra-national organization that can be compared in some ways with the United States of America. For example, it has:

  • A capital city;
  • A flag;
  • Member states;
  • A national anthem;
  • A single air-traffic management system (equivalent to the FAA)
  • An internet domain (.eu)
  • A currency; and
  • A parliament

But in other ways the EU cannot be compared to any other organization, for example:

  • It doesn’t consider itself a nation state;
  • Not all member states use the currency;
  • Each member state has its own military; and
  • Each member state considers itself a country.
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