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Brexit – what now?

Many people will be waking up today to the news that the UK has voted to leave the European Union (EU). Whilst many people outside of the UK will be shocked to hear this (maybe like Texas voting to leave the US), for many Brits this debate has been around for many years, and the vote to remain or leave the EU has been a close run campaign. The core of the debate is that many British people feel that the EU is an unaccountable, undemocratic regional empire that ignores the feelings and wishes of most ordinary citizens within it. Unsurprisingly, most big businesses and politicians are ‘invested in’ the EU construct and have been very opposed to the idea of the UK leaving this institution. However, the effect of ‘threats’ from the likes of President Obama, the IMF and EU about the consequences to Britain of leaving the EU seem have backfired, with the British public feeling they are being pushed around further by the same global and regional institutions that the EU represents. Enough background, what does this decision to leave the UK mean in practice? In the short-term, very little, economies are a bit like oil tankers and take a long time to change direction, so for now, once the volatility of the financial markets has calmed down, there will be a 2-3 year period, where Britain’s exit from the EU will be negotiated under ‘Article 50’ of the EU constitution. This will set out the ‘how’, ‘when’ and ‘what’ of the UK becoming an outside entity to the EU. Despite the political exit, the UK will remain in NATO, it will remain a key part of the European economy and regional political developments and policy.   The EU will be fundamentally changed by the UK’s decision, but it is also more of a separation than a divorce, so the prospects for business and commerce in Europe remain strong and positive. Coming weeks and months will let us all see how the cards will fall and what the new make-up of Europe will be – we will all look on with interest.