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Old 06-24-2016, 02:29 AM   #11
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http://www.theguardian.com/politics/...european-union

'A sad day for Europe': EU aghast as Britain votes Brexit

Historic decision to abandon 28-member trade bloc poses existential threat to entire European project

The UK’s unprecedented decision to quit the European Union plunged the 28-state bloc into the deepest crisis in its history, a seismic detonation that could yet topple the entire project.

Results showing that Britons had voted to reject 43 years of EU membership raised immediate questions of whether other member states might follow suit – and whether the political alliance known for 70 years simply as “the west” could remain intact.

Germany’s foreign minister, Frank-Walter Steinmeier, was one of the first to react, calling the result “truly sobering”. “It looks like a sad day for Europe and the United Kingdom.”

Manfred Weber, the chairman of the European People’s Party group of centre right parties in the European parliament, added that the vote “causes major damage to both sides.” He stressed that Britain had crossed a line and that there was no going back.

“Exit negotiations should be concluded within two years at max. There cannot be any special treatment. Leave means leave.”

EU leaders and officials will spend Friday scrambling to prepare for a crisis session this weekend, ahead of a regular summit next Tuesday and Wednesday. Priorities are likely to be preventing further contagion spreading through EU ranks – and the euro currency.

As dawn broke on Friday, Europe’s political class was still coming to terms with the UK’s historic decision to leave. Although the tiny population of Greenland left the European Economic Community in 1985, never before has a sovereign country served its notice to the world’s biggest trading bloc.

The UK was the EU’s second-largest economy and largest military power. It will embark on the process of leaving just as the union grapples with huge numbers of migrants, economic weakness and a nationalist Russia seeking to overturn the post-cold war order.

The leaders of the EU institutions will hold crisis talks on Friday morning. Tusk will meet Jean-Claude Juncker, the president of the European commission, and Martin Schulz, the president of the European parliament.

The Dutch prime minister, Mark Rutte, who faces his own battle with EU populists, will also attend, because the Netherlands holds the EU’s rotating presidency until 1 July.

But Brussels will look to Germany and France to show the world that Europe is still in business. Italy is likely to also play a role in crisis talks, although Spanish elections on Sunday rule out much input from Madrid.

One of the most pressing questions is when the British government will submit a formal letter of resignation from the union, using the EU treaty’s untested article 50. Once the UK announces its intention to trigger article 50, the clock starts running on two years of negotiations.

The UK has to negotiate two agreements: a divorce treaty to wind down British contributions to the EU budget and settle the status of the 1.2 million Britons living in the EU and 3 million EU citizens in the UK.

The second treaty will be more momentous for Britain’s future: an agreement to govern future trade and other ties with its European neighbours.

The process is likely to be difficult. Tusk has estimated that both agreements could take seven years to settle “without any guarantee of success”. Most Brussels insiders think this sounds optimistic.

Jean-Claude Piris, a former head of the EU council legal service, predicts it will take eight to 10 years to negotiate a comprehensive trade deal, as well as UK participation in other EU policies, such as student exchange schemes or research.

He rubbished claims that Britain would get unfettered access to the single market, without free movement of people, as the equivalent of believing in “Father Christmas”. The British “cannot get as good a deal as they have now, it is impossible”, Piris added.

Some Brussels insiders fear France and Germany may soften their approach after the shock of the vote. Others think countries, especially France, will push for a harsh settlement to hammer home the price of leaving.

One likely outcome of negotiations is that banks and financial firms in the City of London will be stripped of their lucrative EU “passports” that allow them to sell services to the rest of the EU.

Although the long-term consequences of Brexit will be seismic, on paper, nothing changes immediately. The UK remains an EU member until it has finalised the terms of its divorce and is obliged to follow all EU rules.

In theory, the UK retains the decision-making privileges of membership; in reality, power will rapidly drain away. British diplomats can expect to be marginalised in the councils of Brussels, as no one sees the point of bothering about the UK when it is halfway to the door. MEPs will press for Juncker to sack Jonathan Hill, the UK’s EU commissioner, who holds the prized portfolio of financial services.

The UK will keep its veto in some areas, such as tax and foreign policy, but diplomats say Britain’s voice on other EU decisions, for example economy and business, will count for little.
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Old 06-24-2016, 02:30 AM   #12
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Which means Gibraltar may well leave the UK.
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Old 06-24-2016, 02:35 AM   #13
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Yep, so far majority of the votes in Northern Ireland, Scotland and Gibraltar all favoured to remain in the EU, which has brought about speculation on future calls for independence from the UK. Majority of the votes in Wales favoured the Leave campaign.

I'm sure the Gibraltar result will be a major talking point with the Spanish media
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Old 06-24-2016, 02:37 AM   #14
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Former Scottish First Minister Alex Salmond stated to the media that Scotland needs a new referendum for independence from the UK because "circumstances have changed since 2014":
http://www.mkd.mk/svet/vesti/salmond...za-nezavisnost

Meanwhile,deputy First Minister of Northern Ireland Martin McGuiness also called for a referendum for a "United Ireland" (Ireland is in EU) after the results:
http://republika.mk/?p=614553

England and Wales voted for Brexit while Scotland,Northern Ireland and Gibraltar opted against.
On the long run,this might not only be the end of UK-EU love,but it can be the end of the UK itself if Scotland and Northern Ireland opt for independence.
Let's see whether this will cause a domino effect.
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Old 06-24-2016, 02:45 AM   #15
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Way too early to speculate on these things, I think a lot of it is just media hype, the exit will be a long process, but it will be interesting to see how the geo-political landscape reacts to this within the EU and the UK in general in the coming months.
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Old 06-24-2016, 03:09 AM   #16
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The leader of Sinn Fein,the IRA's political wing in Northern Ireland,Declan Kearney,stated "the British government has lost it's mandate to represent the economical and political interests of the people of Northern Ireland" and that "yesterday's results of the voting in Northern Ireland represent the will of the people to unite with Ireland".
Can Brexit give Northern Ireland what the IRA failed to do through terrorism over the years? Will Queen Elizabeth again send the tanks and the army to intervene in Northern Ireland to stop their unification with Ireland?
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Old 06-24-2016, 05:56 AM   #17
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Default Sinn Fein calls for Irish unity poll as Brexit fallout begins (Reuters)

http://www.reuters.com/article/us-br...-idUSKCN0ZA0NX

Northern Ireland's deputy leader Martin McGuinness called for a vote to unite the two sides of the Irish border on Friday, as stocks tumbled and the damaging economic and political fallout from Britain's decision to quit the EU were immediately felt.

Ireland has the EU's fastest-growing economy but also more to lose than any other member state from Brexit with far-reaching implications for its trade, economy, security of energy supplies and peace in British-ruled Northern Ireland.

After 56 percent of Northern Irish voters sought to remain in the EU compared to the 52 percent of the United Kingdom as a whole who voted leave, Sinn Fein's McGuinness said it was imperative that London called a referendum on a united Ireland.

"The British government now has no democratic mandate to represent the views of the North in any future negotiations with the European Union and I do believe that there is a democratic imperative for a 'border poll' to be held," McGuinness told national Irish broadcaster RTE.

"The implications for all of us on the island of Ireland are absolutely massive. This could have very profound implications for our economy (in Northern Ireland)."

The call from Sinn Fein, Northern Ireland's largest Irish nationalist party, was later rebuffed by First Minister Arlene Foster.

Irish Prime Minister Enda Kenny, who has said his government had a full-scale contingency plan in place should its nearest neighbor and largest trade partner vote to leave, called an emergency cabinet meeting shortly after the result.

The outcome has very significant implications for Ireland and the EU as a whole, a government statement said.

"UNAMBIGUOUSLY NEGATIVE"

Ireland's central bank had warned that a withdrawal would hurt economic growth and jobs and significantly impact the financial sector, while a government-commissioned report found it could cut trade with Britain by at least 20 percent.

Irish banks, whose exposure to the UK accounts for around 21 percent of total assets, led the Irish stock market nine percent lower, with shares in Bank of Ireland and permanent tsb down 21 percent and 17 percent down by 0845 GMT.

Europe's largest airline by passenger numbers Ryanair, building materials group Kingspan and packaging producer Smurfit Kappa also fell sharply. The local bourse was down by as much as 16 percent earlier on Friday.

The yield on Ireland's benchmark 10-year bonds [IE10YT=TWEB] was marginally higher at a near record low 0.78 percent.

Finance Minister Michael Noonan said earlier this week that an estimated cumulative Brexit-related hit on the Irish economy of as much as 1.6 percent of GDP would be "containable".

As the UK voted on Thursday, Noonan told parliament that while the downside was "definite", any upside was only speculative, referring to the possibility that some companies keen to stay in the EU might move from Britain to Ireland.

Irish exporters will be the first to suffer, as the pound weakened significantly against the euro, making their euro-priced goods more expensive. Foreign Minister Charlie Flanagan told Reuters on Wednesday that the government will have to consider helping firms exporting into Britain.

Farmers and food producers, major UK suppliers, are especially vulnerable.

"This development is unambiguously negative for the Irish economy," said Philip O'Sullivan, chief economist at Investec Ireland.

BORDER CONTROLS

Of most concern to Dublin is the impact on Northern Ireland, which has the only land frontier between the United Kingdom and the rest of the EU. It was marked by military checkpoints until a 1998 peace deal ended three decades of sectarian violence.

Flanagan said the reintroduction of a hard border would have to be considered in any negotiation and that the return of controls, for customs or security, could pose a difficult challenge for the peace process.

The dismantling of military border posts was a key aspect of the peace deal between Catholic nationalists seeking a united Ireland and Protestant unionists who wanted to keep Northern Ireland British. Over 3,600 died in the conflict.

Northern Ireland's pro-British First Minister Foster dismissed the call by her deputy, McGuinness, for a vote on Irish unity as "opportunistic".

Britain's Secretary of State for Northern Ireland may call such a vote at any time, according to the 1998 agreement. It also specifies that the Secretary "shall" order a referendum if it appears likely that a majority of those voting would seek to form part of a united Ireland.

"There is no way even if there was a border poll that it would be in favor of a united Ireland," Democratic Unionist Party leader Foster told Northern Ireland's Radio Ulster.

(Additional reporting by Amanda Ferguson in Belfast; Editing by Stephen Addison)
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Old 06-24-2016, 06:03 AM   #18
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Default Scotland's future is in EU, minister says as Brexit looms (Reuters)

http://www.reuters.com/article/us-br...-idUSKCN0ZA0S2

Scotland sees its future in the European Union despite Britain's vote to leave, First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said on Friday, raising the specter of a new Scottish independence vote and the possible dissolution of the United Kingdom.

Scotland voted by a margin of 62 percent to 38 percent to remain in the EU in a referendum on Thursday that put it at odds with Britain as a whole, which voted 52-48 in favor of Leave.

"Scotland has delivered a strong, unequivocal vote to remain in the EU, and I welcome that endorsement of our European status," said Sturgeon, head of the Scottish National Party.

Former first minister Alex Salmond explicitly said Scotland is now likely to push for a second independence referendum after the conditions spelled out in the SNP manifesto before reelection in May appeared to have been met.

One key reason Scots rejected independence in a referendum almost three years ago was because independence meant leaving the EU too. After Thursday's vote, the question is whether some Scots who wavered but eventually voted to stick with the UK in 2014, may now prefer to join the secessionists

Splitting Scotland from the UK would end three centuries of shared history, upending another successful economic relationship shortly after the now-impending divorce between Britain and the EU.

Most voters in Northern Ireland also voted to remain and Irish nationalist leaders there called for a poll on leaving the United Kingdom and uniting with Ireland.

Calling a new Scottish vote would not be quick or simple and the SNP, marked by caution since Sturgeon took over as leader, would want to first ensure a new vote could be won.


Sturgeon would have to build a robust economic independence strategy to convince those emotionally persuaded in 2014 but not economically so.

She would also have to make sure that the maelstrom around Britain's EU exit does not sweep away some of the support the SNP currently has.

There are other big factors hindering a divorce. One may be fears that a lightweight EU, without Britain, is a less attractive partner for Scotland, which sends two thirds of its output to the rest of the UK.

Another rests on concerns about what a border between England and Scotland would do to both security and the economy.

"It could be that in the panic that ensues after a British exit, some people might want to stick with what we still have,” said an SNP lawmaker speaking on condition of anonymity.

Polls do not indicate that support for secession has changed much since 2014, but there are several other factors, beyond leaving the EU, which mean that could change.

The biggest is Sturgeon herself, a skilled politician, highly rated by both political friends and foes.


Yet Sturgeon needed to play it cautiously for "good reason," said Anand Menon of think tank UK in a Changing Europe.

"Nicola Sturgeon knows that if Scotland is independent and England is out of the EU, you have an external EU border between Scotland and England. An external border means the prospects of terrorists, its means the prospect of different regulations, and trade will be obstructed," Menon said.

Many voters remain skeptical but acknowledge the departure of Britain from the EU shone a new light on the issue.

"The SNP will have to come back with a better argument for independence in a European context to convince me," said Catherine, a 41-year-old operations manager from Aberdeen.

"If they come back with some real proper facts and figures I would think about it. We’re a small country, we definitely don’t want to be on our own."

(Reporting By Elisabeth O'Leary; Editing by Mark John)
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Old 06-24-2016, 07:19 AM   #19
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Originally Posted by Soldier of Macedon View Post
The BREXIT referendum has succeeded. This is a major blow for the EU, that biased and corrupt organisation that has treated Macedonia so unfairly since our own independence. The problem (or not?) for the UK now is that the Scots may again vote for independence (which I support fully). The erroneous border that separates Ireland from its northern part will also be another factor which will require assessment. A Europe of sovereign states may again be on the horizon. Macedonia pay attention, especially the politicians with deluded EU aspirations.
Yes, EU is corrupt and biased and has treated Macedonia poorly. I think the EU has been useful in some regards, but overall it causes more problems than produces benefits.

Yet, if we're asking Macedonia to pay attention, are we asking them to pay attention to Scotland and Northern Ireland wanting out of the UK so they can re-join the EU? It's ironic that Scotland and N. Ireland may want sovereignty when it comes to their relation with England but not with Europe. Or are we asking Macedonians to pay attention to that part of the driving force for the Brexit, which revolved around racist attitudes toward foreigners, and not just against "Muslims" but also toward Eastern Europeans and others?

I understand and support the economic and sovereignty arguments for the Brexit, but I'm still cautious as to being joyful about the results, especially any trends that might arise from them.
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Old 06-24-2016, 07:30 AM   #20
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Originally Posted by Phoenix View Post

Nice to often hear references to Australia and New Zealand (and Canada) as great examples of countries doing a great job on the international stage all on their own.
This isn't quite accurate. Some organizations and pacts that Australia are in include APEC, WTO, ANZUS, IMF and several others that make them examples of Australia not really going at it alone. These aren't meaningless organizations that have minimal impact on Australia's economy, security and sovereignty.

Then let's not forget about Canada being a member of NATO, G7, ICC, APEC, WTO and dozens of others.
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