Last June, the United Kingdom stunned the world when its citizens voted to leave the European Union.
At the Jan. 12 Waunakee Rotary meeting, Dr. Joe Conti, a sociologist at UW-Madison, explained the complicated process for that nation to follow through with Brexit and some of the possible repercussions.
Leaving the EU will take two years and could start as early as March, he said.
Dr. Conti explained that the country’s entanglement with the EU is complicated for many reasons. It’s unclear what rights European Union residents living in  Great Britain will have, and what rights UK citizens will have in Europe. A large number of British ex-pats live in Europe now.
Great Britain also shares regulatory systems, intelligence and ambassadors with the EU, and once the nation exits, it will have to replace these. Dr. Conti said the trade diplomatic work was left to Brussells, which has 600 diplomats compared to the UK’s 20.
“The United Kingdom is undergoing a hiring splurge,” Dr. Conti said.
The UK’s Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, Boris Johnson, has said about Brexit, the UK shall have its cake and eat it, too, according to Dr. Conti. Johnson is expecting the UK to gain strict control over immigration yet still enjoy trade with the other nations.
But the move toward sovereignty could result in restricted access to the European market and high tariffs, Dr. Conti said.
London could lose financial firms, as well, and the United Kingdom would have to negotiate its own membership in the World Trade Organization, of which the European Union is a member.
Dr. Conti said referendums similar to the UK’s have been introduced in France and Sweden. He expects if the United Kingdom  does exit, the European Union will take a hard line approach to discourage other nations from following the UK.
Dr. Conti further observed that the peaceful declaration of sovereignty by a nation is “remarkable.”
Donald Trump’s victory in the 2016 U.S. presidential election, seen through the framework of Brexit, shows a dissatisfaction with globalization, according to Dr. Conti. While globalization has resulted in lower retail prices and GDP growth, distribution of work and pay is more important to voters. Meanwhile, wealth has largely been concentrated to one demographic and changes in the work force have left some behind.
“That is at the core of dissatisfaction that has motivated Brexit and the Trump campaign,” Dr. Conti said.
He predicted winners and losers  in the move away from globalization, adding it may empower competing nations.
Other News:
•The club thanked Bob Klostermann for organizing the Christmas party and booking a fun bluegrass band.
•Regina McFarland, Mark’s wife, gave birth to their son Jan. 6. Congratulations to the McFarland family!
•Waunakee Community Bank will host its grand opening Feb. 11 with activities for the family.
•The Rotary Lights Committee has been filled, President Travis Heiser announced. Taking over next year will be Taylor Endres, Eric Montie, Bob Sachtjen, Ken Pesik and David Weishoff.
Guests: Roger Erickson, guest of Ashley Feldbruegge; Jamie Griffin, guest of Tyler Knowles; Stan Koopmans, guest of Alan Langfeld; Adam Bentley, guest of Todd Schmidt; Kim Phalen, guest of Randy Herbrand.  
Visiting Rotarians: None.
Greeters: Jan. 19, James Meyer and Dan Miller; Jan. 26, Nick Mischler and Shelley Moffatt; Feb. 2, Eric Montie and Ed Niebuhr.