- Reuters/Suzanne Plunkett
Britain has voted to leave the European Union, and it is leading to an immediate domino effect across Europe as countries decide what to do next.
Scotland’s first minister, Nicola Sturgeon, announced that Scotland “sees its future as part of the EU,” indicating that Scotland may hold another referendum to decide whether to separate from Britain and renegotiate an entry back into the European Union as an independent country.
Scotland voted overwhelmingly in favor of remaining in the EU on Thursday, with 32 out of 32 council areas choosing Remain over Leave.
“Scotland has delivered a strong, unequivocal vote to remain in the EU, and I welcome that endorsement of our European status,” Sturgeon said in a statement. “The vote here makes clear that the people of Scotland see their future as part of the European Union.”
Sturgeon added: “That reflects the positive campaign the SNP [Scottish National Party] fought, which highlighted the gains and benefits of our EU membership, and people across Scotland have responded to that positive message. … Scotland has spoken – and spoken decisively.”
- Thomson Reuters
At the same time, the Irish political party Sinn Fein called for a referendum on uniting Northern Ireland with the rest of the country as the results of the referendum came in.
“English votes have overturned the democratic will of Northern Ireland,” Sinn Fein’s national chairman, Declan Kearney, said in a statement.
“This was a cross-community vote in favor of remaining in the EU. English voters are dragging Northern Ireland out of the EU. This British government has forfeited any mandate to represent the economic or political interests of people in Northern Ireland.”
Kearney added: “We now have a situation where Brexit has become a further cost of partition, a further cost of the Union, and Sinn Fein will now press our demand, our longstanding demand, for a border poll.”
Scotland will seek independence now. Cameron’s legacy will be breaking up two unions. Neither needed to happen. https://t.co/4MDj7pndcq
— J.K. Rowling (@jk_rowling) June 24, 2016
In France and the Netherlands, however, the pendulum swung with the British exit from the EU, or Brexit.
Marine Le Pen, leader of France’s far-right National Front party, hailed the Brexit as a “victory.” The party’s vice president, Florian Philippot, called for a French referendum on leaving the EU.
“The freedom of the people always ends up winning! Bravo United Kingdom,” Philippot tweeted. “Now it’s our turn!”
France has one of the highest proportions of Eurosceptics in the EU – 61% have an unfavorable view of the European Union, compared with just 37% in Hungary and 28% in Poland, according to Pew Research Center. France is also the only country in the EU in which more than 25% of people said it would be positive for the EU if the UK left.
Geert Wilders, the leader of the far-right Dutch Party for Freedom, called on the Netherlands to have its own EU referendum in light of Britain’s successful Leave campaign.
“The United Kingdom is leading the way to the future and liberation,” Wilders said in a statement less than an hour after the Brexit result was declared. “The time is now for a new start, trusting in its own strength and sovereignty. The Dutch population deserves a referendum as well.”
He added: “We want to be the boss again over our own country, over our own money, our own borders, and our own immigration policy.”
The Brexit results, which as of 4:45 a.m. BST showed that 52% of Brits had voted to leave the EU, have shocked the world and caused panic in global markets. The pound has nosedived to a 30-year low and could collapse by as much as 15% against the dollar. David Cameron faces an uncertain future as UK prime minister.