The EU Referendum in June 2016 was a vote by British citizens on whether the country should stay or leave the European Union (https://europa.eu/european-union/index_en). It is often referred to as BREXIT which is shorthand for “British Exit.” The history behind the word BREXIT seems to reference GREXIT when there was talk about Greece exiting the EU and several sources seem to feel that the word BREXIT originated with Peter Wilding’s post "Stumbling towards the Brexit" (May 15, 2012). Below a few key dates in the history of the EU/Great Britain relationship (to see more, they have created a timeline at https://europa.eu/european-union/about-eu/history_en ).
In 1957 the European Economic Community (EEC) was created with the Treaty of Rome (http://archives.eui.eu/en/fonds/94854?item=CM3/NEGO ).
The United Kingdom joined the EEC in 1973.
The EEC/EU – UK relationship was never easy (http://www.bbc.com/news/uk-politics-26515129 ). A Referendum in 1975 kept the country in the EEC but Euroscepticism never went away.
On November 1, 1993 the Maastricht Treaty (http://eur-lex.europa.eu/legal-content/EN/TXT/PDF/?uri=OJ:C:1992:191:FULL&from=EN) changed the EEC to the EU.
In February 2016 Prime Minister David Cameron announced that a Referendum was to be held so that voters could decide whether to remain in the EU or to leave it.
On June 23, 2016 the Referendum was held and 52% of voters voted to leave the EU. That vote was just about What to do. The How is heavily focused on Article 50 (http://www.lisbon-treaty.org/wcm/the-lisbon-treaty/treaty-on-European-union-and-comments/title-6-final-provisions/137-article-50.html) of the Lisbon Treaty (http://www.lisbon-treaty.org/wcm/the-lisbon-treaty.html) which when invoked, is when the negotiations between the EU and the UK on the terms of the exit begin.
For more about the history and development of the EEC / EU and to trace the key events that have changed the Common Market from the UK perspective, see Parliament’s Living Heritage paged at http://www.parliament.uk/about/living-heritage/evolutionofparliament/legislativescrutiny/parliament-and-europe/.
Given the fast pace of change, news sources are going to be key in understanding what is happening. Databases with full-text articles are good sources for newspaper articles as well as articles in more specific trade journals that may have a particular focus and which have published articles that cover themes that may not be in more general interest news sources. Check your local public or university library but below are a few major papers and news sources.
Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung (in German)
Chatham House is the Royal Institute of International Affairs, is an independent policy institute based in London.
Friederichsen, Paul. "Coining catchy 'Brexit' term helped Brits determine EU vote" New York Daily News.
Chokshi, Niraj; Daniel Victor and Sewell Chan. “Overwhelmed by ‘Brexit’? Here Are the Basics” New York Times. June 24, 2016.
This is the official government department responsible for overseeing the negotiations to leave the EU and establishing the future relationship between the UK and EU. There are a list of ministers and over time there will be announcements and documents added.
This site contains government information on the EU Referendum. No material was published on this website between 27 May and 23 June 2016 (per the restrictions set out in the Political Parties, Elections and Referendums Act 2000).
These sites include a number of documents related to the Referendum and BREXIT. The House of Commons Library also has a blog where posts are being tagged Referendum (https://commonslibraryblog.com/tag/referendum/ ).
As of mid-2016, there aren’t many books about BREXIT specifically though that is like to change with forthcoming books including Britain and the European Union by David Gowland. However, there are general histories of the EU, books about Britain’s relationship to the EU, books advocating leaving the EU, and books advocating staying. Not all of the advocacy books have been included but included but it was important to include books on the history of the EU and books on the history of the relationship between Europe and Great Britain. Lastly, the EU also has the treaties and other documents that may be of interest.
This book was written before the referendum and addresses the major concerns and uncertainties associated with the referendum including: the EU and the sovereignty debate; the impact of Brexit in the devolved United Kingdom; financial and economic governance; etc.
[Britain and Europe Since 1945. Brighton, Eng., Harvester Press, 1973]
LC Call Number: HC241.25.G7 B676 2000
LC Catalog Record: https://lccn.loc.gov/73075072
This book is a bibliographic guide for a microfiche set and is an “author, title and chronological index to British primary source material on European integration issued since 1945.” There is a detailed presentation of the participating organizations including a description of their position and purpose.
Britain and European Integration, 1945-1998 : A Documentary History / edited by David Gowland and Arthur Turner. London ; New York : Routledge, 2000.
LC Call Number: HC241.25.G7 B676 2000
LC Catalog Record: https://lccn.loc.gov/00020367
This book is a chronological presentation of events. The author has written about the events but interspersed that written account with various memoranda, draft papers, treasury papers, political position papers, and other material covering the both sides of the debate from both political parties.
Britain's Failure to Enter the European Community, 1961-63 : The Enlargement Negotiations and Crises in European, Atlantic, and Commonwealth Relations / edited by George Wilkes. London ; Portland, OR : Frank Cass, 1997.
LC Call Number: HC241.25.G7 B6914 1997
LC Catalog Record: https://lccn.loc.gov/97001320
This book is specifically recounting the failure of Britain to enter the EEC in the early 1960’s.
Table of Contents: https://www.loc.gov/catdir/enhancements/fy1612/2015513349-t.html
This book takes a more pro-union position and is based in the findings of the British government’s own research project, Review of the Balance of Competences between the United Kingdom and the European Union.
Butler, David and Uwe Kitzinger. The 1975 Referendum. London : Macmillan, 1976.
LC Call Number: HC241.25.G7 B77
LC Catalog Record: https://lccn.loc.gov/76381246
The 1975 referendum was a seminal moment in the history of Britain’s relationship to the EU and this book looks at that time period and does include a table presenting referendum results. There is a chronology (1946-1975) and an appendix does include reproductions of official referendum leaflets. There is a second edition (https://lccn.loc.gov/96224984) of the published in 1996.
Camps, Miriam. Britain and the European Community, 1955-1963. Princeton, N.J., Princeton University Press, 1964.
LC Call Number: HC241.25.G7 C2
LC Catalog Record: https://lccn.loc.gov/63023397
This book was published long before Great Britain joined the EEC and presents and early picture of the relationship between the country and Europe but does include the early developments of the EEC.
Leonard, R. L.. Guide to the European Union / Dick Leonard with assistance from Leo Cendrowicz. 10th ed. London : The Economist in association with Profile Books, 2010.
Table of Contents: https://www.loc.gov/catdir/enhancements/fy1614/2015514629-t.html
There wasn’t much time between the publication of the first edition (https://lccn.loc.gov/2014048869 ) and the second. Both books takes a more pro-union position. The second edition includes a lot of newer material that charts how recent political developments have changed the debate surrounding Britain’s membership of the EU.
MacShane, Denis. Brexit : How Britain Will Leave Europe. London I.B. Tauris, 2015.
This book takes a more pro-union position written by a former European Minister before the referendum. It looks at the history of Britain’s fraught relationship with Europe and how BREXIT became more likely.
Milward, Alan S. The UK and the European Community. London : Whitehall History Pub. ; Portland, OR : F. Cass, 2002-
This is continued by Volume II - The Official History of Britain and the European Community which was written by Stephen Wall.
O'Neill, Con, Sir. Britain's Entry into the European Community : Report by Sir Con O'Neill on the negotiations 1970-1972 / edited with a foreword by Sir David Hannay. London ; Portland, OR : Whitehall History Pub. in association with F. Cass, 2000.
LC Call Number: KD4015 .O545 2000
LC Catalog Record: https://lccn.loc.gov/00043124
This book’s author was the British representative to the European Economic Community (1963 – 1965) and led the British delegation which negotiated the country's entry to the EEC and recounts the negotiations.
Origins and Evolution of the European Union / edited by Desmond Dinan. Oxford [England] ; New York : Oxford University Press, 2006.
Should Britain leave the EU? : An Economic Analysis of a Troubled Relationship / Patrick Minford, Professor of Economics, Cardiff Business School, Cardiff University, UK, with Sakshi Gupta, economist, Crisil, India, Vo Phuong Mai Le, Lecturer, Cardiff Business School, Cardiff University, UK, Vidya Mahambare, Associate Professor of Economics, Great Lakes Institute of Management, Chennai, India, Yongdeng Xu, Researcher, Cardiff Business School, Cardiff University, UK, in association with the Institute of Economic Affairs. Second edition. Cheltenham, UK ; Northampton, MA, USA : Edward Elgar Publishing, 2015.
This is the second edition of the book – the first was published in 2005 (https://lccn.loc.gov/2005280900 ) and it takes a more pro-exit position. This book updates the 2005 edition with reference to the referendum. The author has a web page related to the first edition of book at:
This is the second volume in The Official History of Britain and the European Community, and describes the events from 1963 up until the British entry into the Common Market in 1975. Volume 1 published as: The United Kingdom and the European Community, volume 1, The rise and fall of a national strategy, 1945-1963, edited by Alan S. Milward.
Wall, Stephen. A Stranger in Europe : Britain and the EU from Thatcher to Blair. Oxford ; New York : Oxford University Press, 2008.
This book is predominantly a look at Britain's relationship with the rest of Europe for over two decades. Mr. Wall was a British diplomat who served as Britain's ambassador to Portugal and Permanent Representative to the European Union.
Subject Headings are a good way to find material related to the history of the EEC / EU as well as the history related to Great Britain specifically. Not all of the relevant Subject Headings have been included, but the ones below should be a good start.
European Union--Great Britain.
European Union--Great Britain--History.
European Economic Community--Great Britain.
International and municipal law--Great Britain.
Great Britain--Foreign relations--European Union countries.
European Union countries--Foreign relations--Great Britain.
Great Britain--Politics and government--2007-
European Economic Community countries.
European Economic Community countries--Commerce.
European Economic Community countries--Economic policy.
European Economic Community countries--Emigration and immigration.
European Union countries.
European Union countries--Economic integration.
European Union countries--Economic integration--History.
European Union countries--Economic policy.
European Union countries--Emigration and immigration.
European Union countries--Economic integration.
European Union countries--Politics and government
You can also do a SUBJECTS containing search on the following:
-- European Economic Community countries.
-- European Union countries.
Here are just a few of the Library of Congress Subject Headings that you will get:
Currency question--European Union countries.
Currency question--European Economic Community countries.
Monetary unions--European Union countries.
Administrative law--European Union countries.
Agriculture and state--European Union countries.
Banks and banking--European Union countries.
Banks and banking--European Economic Community countries.
Commercial law--European Union countries.
Emigration and immigration law--European Union countries.
Energy policy--European Union countries.
Environmental policy--European Union countries.
Environmental policy--European Economic Community countries.
Finance--European Economic Community countries.
Fiscal policy--European Economic Community countries.
Fiscal policy--European Union countries.
Foreign workers--European Economic Community countries.
Foreign workers--European Union countries.
Free trade--European Economic Community countries.
Labor market--European Economic Community countries.
Labor market--European Union countries.
Telecommunication--European Economic Community countries.