BBC News has just released the results of the EU referendum: the UK has voted 52% to 48% to leave the European Union after 43 years. The decision proved to be a close one in an intense race overnight, but this morning voters woke to a strong siding towards the exit camp. Whilst Scotland, Northern Island and London opted for “Remain,” the campaign failed to generate enough support in Wales and areas across Northern England. The UK’s decision to leave the European Union has been described by Germany’s foreign minister, Frank-Walter Steinmeier as “truly sobering” and a
“sad day for Europe and the United Kingdom.”
The vote for the UK to leave the European Union has surprised traders and sparked mayhem in the financial services sector – it is reported that the pound has plummeted 11%, a proclaimed ‘three decade low’ since 1985. Earlier in the evening, the sterling initially soared, but when it became apparent that a majority of voters had backed the “Leave” campaign, the pound began to tumble. The vote now raises important questions on whether the end of such a historic union would trigger waves of economic uncertainty and on the future of the UK and other European economies. Bloomberg has already reported that firms and multinationals, such as JPMorgan Chase & Co. and HSBC Holdings are looking to move thousands of jobs out of London following the win of Brexit.
There is also speculation that the result will propagate the desire of other countries to withdraw from the EU. The EU unity has been tested by Greece’s debts, sanctions on Russia, as well as the Syrian Refugee crisis. However, the Brexit strategy could offer longtime ‘eurosceptics’ some insight into the costs of exiting. Political and economic uncertainties, as well as harsher, future immigration laws are at the top of the list. Due to the ‘uniqueness’ of the UK (its currency, opt-out policies from varying EU policies), its disentanglement from the EU may not appear as dramatic to some.
The vote means Britain is the first country to leave the EU since its formation, but the vote does not come immediately into effect. The process could take a minimum of two years; with polling experts suggesting the referendum campaign would not be completed until 2020 as Whitehall and Westminster begin negotiations to ‘unstitch’ itself from more than 40 years of EU law. Additionally, the vote could also re-ignite talks of independence for Scotland, where 62% voted to “Remain” and lead to unsettling future talks of breaking up Great Britain.