The State of the (European) Union

So, it took me a long time to learn what exactly the European Union is, and I still have a long way to go before I get it down. The good news -or maybe bad news- is, apparently some Europeans aren’t doing any better. Ruh roh. Not that I’m judging, of course. My country is in danger of electing a mangled apricot hellbeast, as one genius Scot put it on twitter.

There’s been an awful lot said about the European Union (EU) in the news lately because of #Brexit. For those of you who’ve been in a coma the past few weeks, the UK has just voted to leave the EU . It will definitely mean major changes in Europe. I won’t deal in opinions in this post, only in information.

To begin, here’s a video that helped me understand  what the UK is; if nothing else, it’ll make you chuckle. The EU, for many intents and purposes, functions like one big country. It eases commerce, work and travel for EU citizens. Many EU members share a common currency; the euro. Another intended function was to unite the countries to help prevent another WWII-style European travesty. Also, Europe wanted to pull together to be able to better compete with the US economy. There have been advantages and disadvantages to these things (again, not opining).

Many other European countries are demanding a vote to leave the EU, mainly spurred by right-wing nationalist parties, which threatens to destabilize the union. Since it will literally take years for the UK to make the separation, it will be some time before the permanent ramifications are known.

So far since #Brexit the value of the pound is at a thirty-year low. The UK has lost its top credit rating and the Bank of England has slashed interest rates in the hopes of staving off inflation. Luckily stocks have bounced back from their dramatic drop right after the vote.

Scary stuff.

However, according to a more recent article from the BBC network , so far many of the major economic consequences many experts predicted has not come to pass (yet?).

The UK is and will continue to be outside the Schengen area. #Brexit (I like writing it like this because I’m easily entertained) has not affected this in any way that I know of. It’s important to know that the  Schengen Zone and the European Union are NOT the same thing.

 I’m not sure how it will effect future travel plans to the UK. Keep a close eye on the US government travel website to make sure you know exactly what it might mean for you as a visitor, and even more so for you as, say, an employee. The search on that page will give you (if you’re a US citizen) a ton of essential travel information that relates to you on every country around the world.

Once again, an ounce of prevention…don’t end up Locked up Abroad!



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