Cameron Resigns After Historic Divorce of UK with EU, But What Comes Next?

Time: 8:14 a.m. CEST Update: 2:04 p.m. CEST

by Aleksandra Dukovska

“We don’t have a need for a precise timetable today, but in my view, we should aim new prime minister in place by the start of the Conservative Party conference in October,.” Britain Prime minister David Cameron said after offering his resignation amid win of the “leave” campaign during 10 Downing Street news conference.

The United Kingdom voters voted contrary to some expectations of the British leaders and decided to cut the ties with the European Union, forcing Britain’s prime minister David Cameron to resign. The vote pictured all gaps in the country, making more differential lines between old and young, provincial and metropolitan, Scotland vs. England, and even the difference between those born Britons in contrast to the immigrants.

Poll Card EU referendum

The win of the “leave” campaign on the British exit referendum threw financial markets into turmoil. Cameron, emotionally addressed, not only Britain’s voters, but also the world, saying from the 10 Downing Street, the country now needs “fresh leadership,” after the 51,9 percent victory of the “leave campaign.” Cameron, who is a good friend of President Barack Obama, campaigned for UK to stay in the EU, but now said that new prime minister could be in place by October.

With that decision the beginning of the divorce proceedings with the EU will start later and the transition period for the Brexit which could last two years when begins, as defined with the EU Lisbon Treaty. Even the departure is delayed, the June 23 referendum decision the markets reacted strongly to the news with some immediate shock waves.

The British currency, pound, dropped to the lowest level against the dollar for decades and the stock markets dropped sharply on different share markets. Mark Carney, the Bank of England Governor, attempted to calm the investors with the statement they could intervene in the economy if needed. Cameron showed optimism to the jittery market and marked the UK economy as “fundamental sound.” The British prime minister who said will resign promised that politics toward immigrants would not change and promised “steady ship over the coming weeks and months.”

Shortly after the official announcement of the UK’s Electoral Commission, the EU officials, including those of the Parliament and the EU executive bodies, the EU Council and the European Commission reacted to the developments. The news for winning of the “leave” campaign prompted the decision for an extraordinary meeting of the six founding members of the EU. Online edition of the British Telegraph, published that on Saturday, “the foreign ministers of France, Germany, the Netherlands, Luxembourg, Italy and Belgium – will meet to discuss the implications of the British vote.”

But, Cameron will see his counterparts on Tuesday and Wednesday next week at a European Council summit. As Telegraph explains, Cameron “will be under intense pressure to activate Article 50,” to begin the exit negotiations. The nervousness in Brussels reflected in a short statement of Jean-Claude Junker who said even before the official outcome that “Out is out.”

On Friday, Germain’s foreign minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier said “This looks to be a sad day for Europe and for Britain,” announcing possible turbulence inside the EU, but also outside the EU with the Union’s foreign policies.

Everything now depends of the timing when the negotiation will start under the Article 50. The official Out campaign, comments Telegraph, “Has said there is no need to trigger Article 50 until informal negotiations have taken place.”

Cameron would discuss the migration crisis and current development with the situation in Libya. However, the result of the referendum would mean that triggering article 50 and formally introducing the intension to withdraw opens a two-year process. As soon as clock count down those two years, the treaties which define membership will no longer rule for UK. But, the terms for the exit will be a process of negotiations with 27 members of the EU.

In the situation, each of them could impose veto over the conditions, Telegraph says. As EU rules define, the process will be subject of the ratification in the national parliaments, and that means that each Parliament of any of the 27 members could challenge or block the decision. One of the current EU Commissioners would lead the team for the negotiations. In UK, the outcome will open new possible paths for Scottish secession.

As Telegraph comments, “a majority of British voters heeded the call of pro-Brexit campaigners to liberate the nation from what many here regard as an oppressive Brussels bureaucracy that enables mass migration into the country.” Those who understands the British political scene, knows that this is a small victory for the UK Independence Party and their leader Nigel Farage. Those from Brussels with strong EU sentiments bristled pronouncing the UK as a country of Farage.

“Let June the 23rd go down in our history as our independence day!” cried a jubilant Nigel Farage, a firebrand anti-E.U. leader, in a 4 a.m. celebration, the Telegraph said. “Remain” campaigners could not believed the outcome with Paddy Ashdown, the former Liberal Democrat who tweeted, “God help out country.” Despite, the vote could reflect the notion for the Brussels bureaucracy and point the “leave” campaign win as a deserved punishment.

Those with less understandings of the internal EU quarrels and issues would yet regret the outcome, but would seek other solutions for parallel relations to EU and UK.

President Barack Obama who strongly advocated even during his last visit to London for UK to “remain” in the EU was briefed on the results. The White House published the readout of the call between Obama and Cameron. “The President assured Prime Minister Cameron that, in spite of the outcome, the special relationship between the United States and the United Kingdom, along with the United Kingdom’s membership in NATO, remain vital cornerstones of U.S. foreign, security, and economic policy,” the White House readout of the talk states. Obama talked with German Chancellor Merkel.

Donald Trump, a presumptive Republican candidate, appeared to be in Scotland on Friday, but he  backed Brexit.

In 2013, Cameron promised the referendum, probably expecting an easy victory. But, the campaign turned toward other direction with Justice Secretary Michael Gove and former mayor of London Boris Johnson — friends and sparring partners of Cameron’s since his days at Oxford, when both declared in February their intention to campaign for “out.” Johnson, often described as the populist, could be a potential successor to Cameron.

No one, neither the polls did not suggest that, “remain” will lose, and the “leave” campaign “alienated some voters with its reliance on what critics saw as increasingly nativist rhetoric.” The killing of the pro-E.U. lawmaker Jo Cox, a murder that appeared to awaken a passion in “remain” supporters that had been previously lacking. Last released surveys on Thursday showed possible win of “remain” with a clear edge. But, those familiar with the EU affairs would not blame the changing weather in Britain for the outcome. Between the torrential downpour in London and the sunny sky over the Scotland, the worrying  cloudy feelings dominated.

The Associated Press reported at 8:30 a.m. CEST that a chairwoman of the United Kingdom’s Electoral Commission officially declares that Britain “has voted to leave the European Union.”

The United Kingdom will leave the European Union after 43 years being a member of the Union after with 51,9 percent the “leave” campaign won on a historic referendum. BBC News reported on Friday, “leave” won by 52% to 48% with England and Wales voting strongly for Britain exit, while London, Scotland, and Northern Ireland voted to stay in the EU.

“UK Independence Party leader Nigel Farage hailed it as the UK’s ‘independence day’ but the Remain camp called it a ‘catastrophe,’”BBC News reported. The pound fell to the lowest level against the dollar since 1985. Markets reacted to the news.

Related readings: 

Statement by the EU leaders and Netherlands presidency on the outcome of the UK referendum says, “We now expect the United Kingdom government to give effect to this decision of the British people as soon as possible, however painful that process may be.”

Here is the reaction of the White House posted on Twitter.


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