The U.K. referendum to leave the EU may not kill it, but the panic is a contagion affecting everyone from stock traders in New York to beachgoers in Italy.”>
PARIS As Britains Brexit vote to leave the European Union approached, apocalyptic prophecies could be heard echoing from one corner of the Continent to the other. In a particularly extraordinary statement, European Council President Donald Tusk declared, Brexit could be the beginning of the demolition of not only the EU but also of western political civilization in its entirety.
Now the deed is done, the vote taken, the Leave faction has won and shock waves are spreading around the world. British Prime Minister David Cameron has announced his abdication, the pound sterling has tanked and stock exchange from Tokyo to New York have taken huge reaches. The Kremlin is exulting and far-right-wing nationalist parties in Europe are exulting.
Indeed, so is Donald Trump, who landed in Scotland a few hours after the Brexit outcomes came in and declared, They took back home countries, its a great thing … People are angry all over the world.
Right-wing legislators who have made EU-bashing the acceptable face of parties once known for thinly disguised racism and xenophobia echoed Trumps enthusiasm.
Frances Marine Le Pen, who wants to pull France out of the European union, which it helped to found after World War II, told, Europe[ meaning the EU] will be at the heart of the next presidential campaign. And, take note, radical or not, she is expected to win the first round of that competition by a substantial plurality, even if she loses to a more moderate figure in the second round runoff for the presidency.
And then theres Russia, which annexed Crimea and cranked up a hybrid war of rebellion in Ukraine because people in Kiev had the temerity to favor a closer alliance with the EU and distance themselves from the Kremlin.
For Russian President Vladimir Putin, anything that undermines the unity and credibility of Western Europe is a plus. The former U.S. Ambassador in Moscow, Michael McFaul, says bluntly that research results of the U.K. referendum is Putins victory.
More responsible leaders are trying rather urgently to shore up confidence in the future.
The unpopular French president, Franois Hollande, with eloquence unusual for him, said the European union must re-think the way it runs. It is, he told, a big idea and not only a big market.
But at the least two years of negotiations, maybe more, will be required before we know how bad( or good) things genuinely are, and whether the big market, much less the big idea, can survive.
In the meantime, from health clinics in France to the beaches of Italy and far beyond, there are countless questions to be answered.
When the soon-to-be erstwhile British Prime Minister David Cameron dedicated his consolatory speech about the British populaces decision to ++ ditch U.K. membership in the European union ++[[ http :// www.thedailybeast.com/ articles/ 2016/06/ 24/ brexit-shock-pound-collapses-as-britain-plunges-into-isolation.html ]], he told two things that Brits now sunning themselves by their ponds at their summer homes in sunny Tuscany and the Greek islands might note with special interest: I would also reassure Britons living in European countries and European citizens living here there will be no immediate changes in your circumstances.( Our italics .) We can assume immediate in this case means that, basically, they can stay for lunch, and, likely the rest of the summer.
He also said, There will be no initial change in the way our people can travel, in the way our goods can move or the way our services can be sold. Initial, of course, being the operative term here since it implies that there will be a stage of adjustment as Europe decides what to do. And, stimulate no mistake, the ball is now in Europes court , not the U.K.s.
What Cameron told next is what really counts. We must now prepare for a negotiation with the European union, he said before announcing we didnt entail he and that he had no intention of staying on to lead those negotiations, which very well could be hostile. German Foreign Minister Frank Walter Steinmeier called the vote a sad day for Europe before calling situations of emergency EU foreign ministers meeting for Sunday, to which the U.K. is not invited.