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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.”

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