It was too close to call for hours, but eventually, the polling stations returned their result and David Cameron, whose leadership is now shakier than ever, will have to start the procedure to invoke Article 50. While Boris Johnson and Nigel Farage, the most vocal supporters of the leave faction are celebrating by calling the 23 of June the "new Independence Day" and urging the Prime Minister's resignation without further ado, dark clouds are hanging over Britain's future.
The pound is plummeting.
Immediately after the results were made officially available, the pound started to plummet, as expected, reaching its lowest point in more than 30 years and dragging with it a number of other stock markets, European and not. No one knows if and when it will start gaining again, but it's unlikely it will be in the short term.
The economy will suffer for a long time.
Far from boosting the economy, leaving the EU will imply for the UK the need to renegotiate its agreements (including trade and commercial deals) with the European Union, and it is predictable that these discussions will be held on a very different ground now: it would not be a surprise that the UK will have to concede more than it has ever done when part of the EU, considering that while Europe receives almost half of the British export, the UK only imports approximately 10% of the EU products. The sweet deals agreed in the past, extremely favorable to Britain rather than to the EU, will most likely be disregarded during the negotiations, given that the UK will not bring any added value to the Union and has lost its weight in the talks.
A long period of uncertainty.
Even if the agreements won't be so negative for the UK, they will take time: minimum two years that many consider an underestimation, with more realistic outlooks talking about at least seven years. This is a long time for a country to deal with political and economic uncertainty and a dive is foreseen in the investments sector until the situation is finally settled, with a consequent reduction in hiring and potential job losses, both in the UK and in Europe.
Border control was one of the slogans repeated ad nauseam by Farage and the like of him, and while apparently leaving Europe seems to fulfill their dreams of a more severe control of the immigration, it might turn out being a flop. Most of the British immigrants come from Europe (and many Brits have emigrated to Europe), and, if Norway and Switzerland are (as repeatedly stated by Boris Johnson) the way to go, it means that the UE will likely demand the UK to allow free movement of people in exchange for granting access to the common market, a market British businesses cannot live without.
The UK could be made an example of (and not in a positive way).
Generally, there is a risk that the UK referendum will trigger a domino effect in Europe, where the Eurosceptic parties are advancing in almost every country and it will be paramount for the EU to maintain its territorial integrity from now on: for Brussels, the negotiations for the UK could become strategic in avoiding an EU-exodus. It will not be unlikely, therefore, that the conditions imposed on the UK could be harsh as a deterrent for other countries thinking of leaving. For the same reasons, should the UK decide not to leave in the end, or to join again, the EU will most likely dictate stricter conditions than ever if it will allow Britain to go back.
The UK is more divided than ever.
The breakdown of the votes shows how the United Kingdom is not united. Apart from the generation gap, with young people massively for "Remain", the results highlighted a geographic gap. Wales and Northern Ireland were compacted in favor of staying in the EU. The final outcome of the referendum, with its political and economic complications, could induce those regions to claim their independence in order to join the EU separately from the UK, and eventually boost their claims to separate themselves from England. #Foreign Policy #Foreign Affairs