Leaving EU changed UK, Europe and World: commentators

LONDON, June 25 (KUNA) — Britain woke up Saturday to a new country, a new Europe and a new world, after voters here decided to exit the EU.
“The people have spoken. Their decision has split the nation, but it is stunningly clear”, commentators said.
Democracy demands that Britain’s choice to withdraw from the European Union be respected by those who disagree with it and implemented by Parliament, they insisted. “The die is cast. Brexit is happening”, underscored the majority of analysts.
After a love-hate relationship spanning five decades, this country “has voted to leave the EU in a protest against political elites that will echo down the ages”, they suggested.
Prime minister David Cameron has tendered his resignation because he had no choice, his opponents argued. But his supporters stressed that he called the referendum and lost it, and rightly concluded that the country needs a new captain for the “uncharted voyage to its new destination”.
However, there was a warning that the United Kingdom could break up before that destination is reached. Cameron’s successor must answer a renewed drive for Scottish secession with a case for union that stands the test of time. His successor must plot a new course to prosperity, especially for the millions who have let Brussels and London know loud and clear that in the EU prosperity has eluded them.
The union itself is now shaken to the core. Other states may demand referendums of their own and Brussels cannot quash these yearnings. They are appealing for more accountability and less interference, which the EU must heed for its own sake.
But stability will always be in Britain’s strategic national interest, it was pointed out.
The chief executive of Airbus called Brexit yesterday a “lose-lose” result for Britain and Europe. “It is time to consign doom-mongering to history and aim to realise the Eurosceptic dream of a win-win”, Brexiteers argued.
Meanwhile, other commentators believe that Britain’s rejection of the EU is the most dramatic expression yet of a global wave of populism that has upended political establishments from Rome and Athens to Washington DC.
In the opposition Labour party corridors the recriminations will be brutal, it was observed. What if their leader Jeremy Corbyn had given the EU more than a half-hearted seven out of ten as he confessed before the vote? What if previous party leaders had tackled head-on voters’ anger over immigration in the party’s heartlands? In the meantime, this Tuesday, Cameron faces the humiliation of attending a summit in Brussels with the 27 leaders who were promised a Remain vote. On Wednesday the prime minister will be asked to leave the room, as a crisis meeting is held without Britain for the first time in 43 years. Frank-Walter Steinmeier, the German foreign minister, called a meeting in Berlin today of his peers from the six founding states of the EU: Germany, France, Italy, Belgium, the Netherlands and Luxembourg.
Cameron’s plan to put negotiations on hold until he stands down in October have not gone down well in Brussels, the commentators noted . There is a feeling that Britain should just get on with it, and not expect any special treatment.
They cynically say that “what is left of the European Union now has just one aim: to punish Britain”.
But the leading opponent of the union and justice secretary Michael Gove, by contrast, suggested the separation would be one of “gradual divergence” as he effectively put himself at the head of negotiations that will dominate politics for years to come.
In a related development, the UK pound touched a 31-year low and the FTSE 100 index tumbled 8.7 percent after the country’s exit was announced as dawn broke yesterday, though it later rallied. There were fears of falling house prices while forecasters at Moody’s downgraded Britain’s economic growth prospects to negative from stable.
People rushed to change money, with the euro in particular demand. The country embarked on its new course with the leadership of both Westminster parties in peril. Boris Johnson is the frontrunner to become the next Conservative leader and prime minister but Cameron’s allies swung behind Theresa May, the home secretary, as the best candidate to oppose him.
Labour MPs launched a coup against Jeremy Corbyn amid claims that his office had sabotaged the party’s campaign to keep Britain in the European Union.
For her part, Nicola Sturgeon, Scotland’s first minister, served notice that she was “highly likely” to fulfil her manifesto promise to hold another independence referendum because Scotland voted in favour of Remain by 62 percent to 38 percent. Across the UK, 51.9 percent (17.4 million people) voted to leave the EU compared with 48.1 percent (16.1 million) who wanted to stay.
The result, which most pollsters and markets had failed to predict, was put down in part to a high turnout of 72.2 percent and strong Brexit support in the north of England and the Midlands (central England). There was a stark generational divide, with three quarters of under-25s backing Remain. Experts suggested that those who considered themselves to be the losers of globalisation had backed Brexit.
A stunned Brussels demanded that Britain start talks to leave the EU immediately. There were also calls from populist movements for similar referendums in France, Italy, the Netherlands and Denmark.
Standing with his wife, Samantha, outside Downing Street, Cameron defended his decision to hold the poll and promised to respect the outcome. “I will do everything I can as prime minister to steady the ship over the coming weeks and months. But I do not think it would be right for me to try to be the captain that steers our country to its next destination,” he said.
Appearing close to tears, he finished by saying: “I love this country and I feel honoured to have served it and I will do everything I can in future to help this great country succeed.” Cameron said that he wanted to have a new leader in place by the start of the Conservative Party conference in October. But Conservative MPs warned that he might have to stay longer in No 10 to allow for a longer contest.
Johnson and Michael Gove, who led the revolt against their leader, paid tribute to him in a press conference that sought to avoid the triumphalism shown by a jubilant Nigel Farage, the leader of the anti-EU UKIP party.
For its part, Northern Ireland also rejected Brexit, leading Sinn Fein, the Irish Republican party to call for a referendum to unite Ireland.(end) he.nfm