On the third anniversary of the final farewell to Europe, the now renamed “Bregret” repentance is rampant in 647 out of 650 constituencies. But that doesn’t make a UK return to the EU any closer.
On January 31, 2020, the United Kingdom left the EU. Now, 57 percent of citizens would vote against Brexit, compared with 43 percent who remained in favor. That is why the neologism Bregret was coined, regretting a rash decision that even according to some leading Tory figures “was a disaster”.
At three years distance from the divorce between London and Brussels, difficulties have emerged above all, and nostalgia for Europe is growing among people.
From Brexit to Bregret: why it is not working
Three years after it officially took effect, and now that the Covid pandemic is no longer responsible for muddying the waters, there are some critical issues pushing the regret of leaving the EU.
The Northern Irish knot
Three years later, major knots remain to be untangled, one of them being the Northern Ireland Protocol, which has led to, among other things, a major political stalemate in Belfast.
Since Rishi Sunak has been the tenant of Downing Street, the relationship between London and Brussels has calmed down, but finding a solution that displeases no one seems utopian.
Nostalgia for Europe
What has changed, however, is the general sentiment in light of the way things are going in the United Kingdom.
According to a poll commissioned in recent days by the Guardian, 58.5 percent of the population would now vote to remain in the European Union, 41.5 percent remain of the view that it is better to be on our own.
Shortage of personnel
Among the most serious problems facing the country is certainly the shortage of staff, especially unskilled ones.
The Brexit has led to a shortage of 330,000 posts, especially in the logistics and hospitality sectors, but the nation’s healthcare system has also been affected by the shortage of medical, paramedical and especially nursing staff.
European students away from universities
The number of EU students enrolling in British universities has more than halved, with a sharp drop in students from Italy, Germany, and France. Before Brexit, European students used to pay university taxes exactly as much as British students.
Now they have to pay the fees paid by non-EU students, which, according to Study UK and the British Council, can range from £11,400 to £38,000 a year. On the contrary, the number of students from China rose from 107,000 in 2018 to 151,000 in 2022.
The flight of City bankers
Also leaving the UK are among the richest City bankers, who now prefer Frankfurt, Paris, Milan to London.
The European Banking Authority has certified how the number of bankers earning €1 million or more a year has increased by more than 40 percent within the Union.
Import and export suffering
Inevitably suffering from the new bureaucratic burdens is also import and export. British exports to the continent are estimated at 16 percent less than they would have been without Brexit, that of the continent to the island at 20 percent.
Movements between the mainland and the island have also become much more complex for people. Eurostar trains at peak hours are daily forced to cross the Channel with hundreds of empty seats. This, because border police cannot process passports fast enough.
Rising landings and illegal immigration
Lastly, the opposition to illegal immigration and landings, namely one of the strongest issues in favour of Brexit. The UK recorded a stable increase in landings, despite the direct control of British borders.
Bregret: great disappointment for the majority of Britons
The British media have dubbed it “Bregret,” a word between Brexit and regret. And indeed the vast majority of His Majesty’s subjects say they regret “leave.” Meanwhile, the economy is trudging along and in 2023 London will grow less than Russia.
Disappointment with the meager results brought as a gift by leaving the EU unites all strata of the population. And also involves big names in finance, until yesterday staunch supporters of Brexit.
Much of the decline in Brexit popularity has been registered precisely among those who voted for divorce in 2016.
Even within the ranks of the Conservatives, there are those who reject Brexit across the board. This is the case of Guy Hands, a prominent City figure, chairman and chief investment officer at private equity firm Terra Firma and former Tory donor. Who, in an interview with the BBC denounced Brexit “a complete disaster.”