Saturday, 25 June 2016

Britain's EU Exit: What Comes Next?

David Cameron fulfilled a commitment to visit the Armed Forces Day event in Cleethorpes, North East Lincolnshire, today where he watched the main parade from the saluting platform. The Prime Minister spent just under an hour in the seaside town, not giving any interviews or making any speeches.

David Cameron's allies are said to be supportive of any leadership bid that home secretary Theresa May chooses to make. They are keen to try and stop Boris Johnson from becoming the next Tory leader. "I would find it all but impossible to have him as my leader," a senior Tory source told The Times. “I don’t know if he can be prevented from making it to No 10 but many of us are willing to try.”

Britain's "Leave" vote, however, does not represent that formal notification. That notification could take place within days — for example, when EU member countries meet for a summit that is scheduled for June 28 to 29. Or British officials might wait a few months to pull the trigger.

Once Britain invokes Article 50, it will have a two-year window in which to negotiate a new treaty to replace the terms of EU membership. Britain and EU
leaders would have to hash out issues like trade tariffs, migration, and the regulation of everything from cars to agriculture.

In the best-case scenario, Britain may be able to negotiate access to the European market that isn’t that different from what it has now. Norway is not a member of the EU, but it has agreed to abide by a number of EU rules in exchange for favorable access to the European Common Market.

And it's unlikely that anyone is celebrating the vote any more thoroughly than Nigel Farage, head of the right-wing U.K. Independence Party (UKIP). Never part of the official Leave campaign and dismissed by his critics as a fringe politician, Farage focused relentlessly on immigration and British sovereignty, two hot-button issues with Leave voters.

Now seen by his supporters as a champion of the working class, Farage called the vote a "victory for real people." He also said he looked forward to other EU countries holding their own referendums.

"The EU's failing, the EU's dying, I hope we've knocked the first brick out of the wall," he said.

EU leaders in Brussels will not be amused by Farage's Berlin Wall analogy, but they will have other worries on their minds: Just like U.K. residents, they awoke this morning to a very different future.

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