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Uncertainty, Unhappiness 2 Weeks After 'Brexit' Vote To Leave European Union

Women hold posters during a protest opposing Britain's exit from the European Union in Berlin, Saturday, July 2, 2016. About 50 people staged a protest Saturday in front of Berlin’s Brandenburg Gate against the recent British referendum to leave the EU.
Markus Schreiber
/
AP
Women hold posters during a protest opposing Britain's exit from the European Union in Berlin, Saturday, July 2, 2016. About 50 people staged a protest Saturday in front of Berlin’s Brandenburg Gate against the recent British referendum to leave the EU.";

Two weeks after a majority of British voters declared they wanted to leave the European Union, there’s still a tremendous amount of uncertainty about how exactly that’s going to happen.

“I’ve not heard anybody on this side of the [English] Channel who has said positive things about the British vote,” said Mitchell Smith, a political economist and the director of the University of Oklahoma’s European Union Center. He’s a frequent contributor to KGOU’s World Views and has been traveling with students in Brussels, the de facto capital of the EU.

The “Brexit” vote still dominates the conversation and news coverage in the UK. The country is still incredibly divided, even though the vote is a done deal. But there’s very little disparity in Continental Europe, and Smith says most of the people he’s talked to are upset, depressed, and concerned about the future. But the EU institutions – the European Commission, the Council, and the Parliament –didn’t expect the “Leave” campaign to triumph, and as a result, EU policymakers are detached from the sentiment of both British citizens and residents of the member states.

“What they’re going to do about it remains somewhat unclear, but I think they’ve received the message,” Smith said. “One, the message that not all is well and something has to change. And secondly, that the initial instinct to punish the British by telling them, ‘OK, now get out as quickly as possible, good riddance, be gone, don't let the door hit you on the way out,’ I think is an understanding now that slowing down the process and negotiating a deal that will be in the interest of both sides is really the best approach.”

KGOU and World Views rely on voluntary contributions from readers and listeners to further its mission of public service with internationally focused reporting for Oklahoma and beyond. To contribute to our efforts, make your donation online, or contact our Membership department.

Brian Hardzinski is from Flower Mound, Texas and a graduate of the University of Oklahoma. He began his career at KGOU as a student intern, joining KGOU full time in 2009 as Operations and Public Service Announcement Director. He began regularly hosting Morning Edition in 2014, and became the station's first Digital News Editor in 2015-16. Brian’s work at KGOU has been honored by Public Radio News Directors Incorporated (PRNDI), the Oklahoma Association of Broadcasters, the Oklahoma Associated Press Broadcasters, and local and regional chapters of the Society of Professional Journalists. Brian enjoys competing in triathlons, distance running, playing tennis, and entertaining his rambunctious Boston Terrier, Bucky.
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