Black Thursday Europe in Shock over Brexit

The unbelievable has happened: The British have voted to leave the EU, with Brexiteers scoring a narrow victory. The only certainty at the moment is that Europe and Britain now face great uncertainty.

Remain supporters as referendum results were announced.
AFP

Remain supporters as referendum results were announced.

By in London


The inconceivable has happened. Brexit. The British have decided to leave the European Union -- against the advice of almost all experts, against all economic reason and against the desire of its European neighbors.

The result of the referendum is a shock -- for Prime Minister David Cameron, for the majority of the political elite, for the business community and for Europe. For the first time ever, an EU member state is set to leave the bloc. It's a giant lack of confidence vote that could be copied by other countries. The very future of the European Union is at stake.

Brexit supporters exploited the dissatisfaction of many in Britain with the state of politics, and the vote is one that is not just against the EU but also against Cameron's government. The prime minister understood the message and promptly announced on Friday that he would leave office by autumn. The campaign slogan that seemed to work best was, "Take back control."

A majority of Brits have the feeling that the EU dictates everything to them. Allegedly uncontrolled migration prompted many to vote to leave the EU. The Brexit campaign proved adept at exploiting this sentiment and promised the people of Britain a new sovereignty. "If we vote leave, we can take back control of our borders," pledged the United Kingdom Independence Party's Nigel Farage and former London mayor Boris Johnson, the conservative head of the Leave campaign.

Brexit Referendum

Remain in the EU
Leave the EU

EU supporters ultimately failed to paint a positive picture of Europe in the UK. Their campaign had focused largely of the economic disadvantages that would threaten Britain if it left. But it wasn't enough.

Now Britain is facing both government and economic crises. Once the results became clear on Friday morning, the British pound plummeted in value after the markets opened. The stock markets fear a "Black Friday." But it's not just the stock market that faces repercussions. Many observers believe the country will fall into recession.

Cameron's Government in Tatters

Meanwhile, the government is in tatters. Cameron had sought the referendum as a means of silencing EU opponents in his party. But now, it is not just his Conservative Party, but also the entire political elite in Westminster who will be facing enormously difficult times.

It is now likely that Cameron will leave negotiations over Britain's exit from the EU -- which EU law foresees as a two year process, but which could take much longer -- to his successor.

The referendum also represents a devastating defeat for the EU. Right up until the end, leading politicians in Brussels, Berlin and Paris had hoped that reason would prevail in Britain. But now the entire European community is facing the worst crisis in its entire history.

Many fear a copycat effect, with other EU countries holding similar referenda. Now EU leaders will have to think long and hard about how they can prevent the EU from unravelling. Much of this will be dependent on how those leaders conduct negotiations with the British government. Following Brexit, simple solutions are no longer possible.

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DarwinEvolved 06/24/2016
1. davidagregory@att.net
The EU is a feckless mess run by an elite determined to shove NeoLiberal economics down everyone's throat. The elites that profited from the policies are well paid and insulated from the common citizen who is swamped because of the policies of the EU and the Globalists. Maybe they should have listened to the common citizen instead of interviewing each other. This should be the end of the TTIP and TISA and if we are lucky the TPP.
pwells1066 06/24/2016
2.
Christian Teevs should not have thought Brexit inconceivable and in opening words he displays the very assumptions that caused a small majority of Britons to vote Leave. The rest of his report reflects that same perspective and assumes that there is no alternative to a nation following any path except that derived from Brussels. He does however raise the problem British Voters have now given the governing elite of Europe in that many others will now believe that they too can 'see' a future outside the suffocating patronage of Brussels. I also think that his final comments hint at how that elite will use unpleasant means to try ensure others are not encouraged to take back their sovereignty. Friends Yes. Companions Yes Cooperation Yes. Commerce Yes. Marriage NO.
Inglenda2 06/24/2016
3. No shock, we saw this coming!
Many Britons who voted for a Brexit have nothing against Europe, or the Europeans! They do have a lot against an undemocratic EU, but this was known beforehand! None of the self-satisfied leaders, who could have done so, chose the way of changing for the better. Indeed this arrogant lot place the blame on the British voters, rather than upon themselves. However, there are two other points which have been deliberately overseen. 1. Thousands of pro-European Britons, living on the continent, were denied the chance to vote. 2. Cameron was already most unpopular in Britain, for causing poverty amongst the older generation and also for ruining the National Health Service. Many people would have voted for a Brexit, to get there own back on him. Not a very clever idea, but in some ways understandable.
sahra_taylor 06/24/2016
4.
And I am sitting here, in Berlin, in shock. Can I please stay now? for good? I don't want to have to go back :-(
rintoule 06/24/2016
5. Best offer
Seems the Chancellor Merkel maximum concessions (particularly internal migration) to PM Cameron were not enough to keep the UK in the EU.
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