Handelsblatt Blog

June 25 Update - The Day After Britain Leaves

Außenminister Frank-Walter Steinmeier (3.v.l., SPD), sein italienischer Amtskollege Paolo Gentiloni (2.v.l.), sein belgischer Amtskollege Didier Reynders (2.v.r.), sein französischer Amtskollege Jean-Marc Ayrault (3.v.r., verdeckt), sein niederländischer Amtskollege Bert Koenders (r), und sein luxemburgischer Amtskollege Jean Asselborn (l) sprechen am 25.06.2016 in Berlin vor der Villa Borsig zu Medienvertretern. Nach dem Brexit treffen sich hier die Außenminister der sechs EU-Gründerstaaten - damals hieß das Bündnis noch EWG - zu Gesprächen. Foto: Kay Nietfeld/dpa | Verwendung weltweit
Foreign ministers of the E.U.'s founding member states met in Berlin Saturday, pledging to keep the European Union united.
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June 25, 6.00 p.m. CET

Concerns for a Younger Generation

Protest2
George Mouskoundi, whose parents came to Britain from Cyprus, fears for his children’s future. Source: Yasmin Osman

 

George Mouskoundi (pictured) was at Saturday’s London Parliament Square protest with his wife and two children Betty, 3, and Micah. Some 200-300 people, mostly younger Brits with their families, gathered to voice their concerns over the country’s vote to exit the European Union. Mr. Mouskondi told Handelsblatt reporter Yasmin Osman that he feared for his children’s future. “This whole election was focused solely and completely on immigration,” opined the 38-year-old, whose parents emigrated to Britain from Cyprus.

Mr. Mouskoundi would be in favor of a second referendum. Many of those that voted Brexit used it as a protest vote and didn’t really think about the consequences, he said.


 

June 25, 5.33 p.m. CET

Franziska Roscher of Handelsblatt Global Edition reports from the protest today in London’s Parliament Square.


 

June 25, 5.26 p.m. CET

German Chancellor Angela Merkel has added her voice to calls for London to clarify how it wants to proceed after this week’s referendum on E.U. membership.

It was up to Britain to say exactly what kind of relationship it now wants with the European Union, she said after a meeting with top members of her Christian Democratic party in Potsdam, near Berlin.

Ms. Merkel said the negotiations over Britain’s exit from the bloc should not be dominated by concerns over any of the 27 other E.U. members leaving. Instead the talks should be proper and civil, she said, noting that the European Union will have to continue working closely with Britain in countless international organizations, such as NATO.


 

June 25, 5.10 p.m. CET

The leader of the Social Democratic faction in the European Parliament has called for more democracy in the European Union as an answer to Britain’s referendum.

Gianni Pittella told Berlin daily Tagesspiegel, a sister paper of Handelsblatt, that the president of the European Commission should be directly elected. “That way the E.U. can be given a democratic foundation,” he said in an interview.

Mr Pittella said Social Democrats planned a pan-European summit with civil society leaders and national parliaments in the autumn to consider how to move the E.U. project forward. He called for deeper economic integration, including the creation of an E.U. finance minister.


 

June 25, 4.50 p.m. CET

“I think people made a decision which they’re going to live to regret,” Chris from west London, told our reporter Franziska Roscher, who is on the scene of a protest against Brexit in the center of the country’s capital.


 

June 25, 2.52 p.m. CET

The fallout from Britain’s vote to leave the European Union continues. On Saturday, Britain’s E.U. Commissioner Jonathan Hill, who was responsible for financial regulation in the E.U.’s executive arm, said he would resign from his post.


 

June 25, 2.48 p.m. CET

The Pro-E.U. Side of Britain Speaks Out

June 24, 2016 - London, England, United Kingdom - A woman wearing a hijab screams slogans as she marches from East London to The News Corporation HQ to protest against series of articles that make hysterical attacks on refugees and asylum-seekers |
This picture from a protest in London June 24. More protests underway on Saturday. Source: Picture Alliance

 

A protest was set to get underway Saturday afternoon at London’s central Parliament Square against Thursday’s decision for the United Kingdom to leave the European Union.
In a demonstration provocatively named “F**k Brexit,” organized online, mostly young voters planned to come together to discuss the consequences of the vote and reflect on the nature of the campaign that has just ended. “This referendum’s campaign descended into an absolute pantomime, and the result is terrifying,” reads the Facebook page that calls on people to join the protest.
The event is geared at the young, and assumes that most of them are pro-European. “The older generation won this vote, but that’s because people our age didn’t even bother to,” the organizers write on their Facebook page. “Let’s come together and try to engage young people, invite them to come and talk to us and help spread a feeling of hope and togetherness, and protest the fact that a decision was largely made by people who won’t have to live with the consequences of it,” the site adds.
Despite the provocative name, organizers claim that the protest “is not going to be an angry, placard-waving protest.” Billie JD Porter, who claims to have set up the Facebook page, said that the rally is targeting those young people who didn’t vote in Thursday’s referendum and are now unsettled.
“The overwhelming response I’ve seen is that young people don’t think their votes matter,” the young journalist said in a BBC interview, adding: “One person tweeted me saying he didn’t vote because he had faith in his country making the right decisions for him.”
More than 1,000 people have RSVP’ed for the event, and another 1,800 have signaled interest on Facebook.

 

June 25, 2.35 p.m. CET

A show of patriotism in Scotland on Armed Forces Day. Handelsblatt reporter Christoph Kapalschinski was watching.


 

June 25, 2.20 p.m. CET

The next referendum could be fast approaching – this time for Scotland. The Scottish cabinet on Saturday approved First Minister Nicola Sturgeon’s plan to begin legislative proceedings on a second referendum for whether Scotland should remain in the European Union.

Ms. Sturgeon also said she was inviting diplomats from all 27 remaining European Union member states to Edinburgh in the next two weeks to explore options for Scotland to remain in the European Union.

Scotland voted overwhelmingly to remain in the European Union by 62 percent to 38 percent, prompting the regional government to declare Friday that, either the United Kingdom find a way for Scotland to remain an E.U. member, or Scotland will hold another referendum on independence.


 

June 25, 1.50 p.m. CET

The foreign ministers of the European Union’s six founding member states have issued a statement, expressing their “regret” at Britain’s decision and promise to learn the lessons of the referendum to ensure that the long history the E.U. already has behind it does not go up in smoke.

“The European Union is losing not just a member state, but history, tradition and experience,” said the foreign ministers of Germany, France, Italy, Belgium, Luxembourg and the Netherlands, whose countries the club in 1957.

The ministers, who were gathering in Berlin for a summit called by Germany’s foreign minister, once again called on Britain to begin implementing the referendum decision “as quickly as possible” to restore “clarity” in the markets. They insisted that Britain’s departure was a one-time event and that the 27 member states remaining would carry on.

However, for the first time the ministers seemed to acknowledge that there were “different levels of ambition” within the E.U.’s member states when it comes to further integration, suggesting a two-speed European Union is becoming more and more likely.

“Neither the simple call for more Europe, nor a phase of simple reflexion would be a measured response,” the ministers said. Instead, they called on the European Union to do a better job of listening to the people and tackling only those issues that can best be managed at a European level.


 

June 25, 11.25 a.m. CET

Calling for Another Try

After the results of Britain’s historic vote to leave the European Union, more than 870,000 people have signed a petition calling for another referendum.

By Saturday morning, so many signatories had visited the government’s website that it was hard to access and occasionally crashed because of the traffic.

The petition was set up by supporters of the remain campaign who called on the government to implement a rule under which the referendum would be invalid with a turnout of below 75 percent and a majority of less than 60 percent for remain or leave.

Under British law, parliament has to consider all petitions with more than 100,000 signatures.

Thursday’s referendum saw a turnout of 72 percent and a result with 52 percent of voters choosing to leave the E.U. against 48 percent in favor of remaining.

 


 

June 24, 8.10 p.m. CET

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Germany’s economy minister is hoping the fallout will be minimal. Source: Bloomberg

 

Sigmar Gabriel, Germany’s deputy chancellor and economy minister, doesn’t expect any economic fallout for Germany from Britain’s referendum vote to leave the European Union.

In an exclusive video interview with Handelsblatt from Berlin, Mr. Gabriel also suggested he didn’t necessarily welcome British companies relocating to Germany as a result of the vote.

“It is possible that some companies would move their headquarters to Europe – Frankfurt has already come up in discussions,” he said. “But I wouldn’t even really wish this on the British,” he added.

Mr. Gabriel said the outcome of the referendum was tragic and would come “at the cost of the younger generation, and the workers of Britain.” The only positive to be drawn was that three quarters of voters under 25 had chosen to remain in the European Union, he said.

“This shows that the young are much smarter than today’s political generation, which only thinks of its short-term grasp on power,” he said.

Still, Mr. Gabriel said he doesn’t expect any major economic fallout for Germany: “In Germany the economic situation is stable. I’m not worried about that.”

Read our coverage of the historic day that Britain’s decision to leave the European Union was announced.

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