Brexit ripple effect: More countries push for independence

Political parties in France, Holland, Italy and Denmark have stepped up pressure on their governments to reconsider their future with the EU.

Photo by: Reuters
Photo by: Reuters

Marine Le Pen, France's far-right National Front political party leader, speaks during a news conference following Britain's referendum to leave the EU.

Britain's vote to leave the European Union may have sent financial markets across the world into a frenzy, but the real impact of the referendum may be yet to come.

Moments after the UK Electoral Commission revealed that 51.89 percent of the population had voted in favour of the 'Brexit', calls for similar referendums were being made across Europe.

Political parties in France, Holland, Italy and Denmark stepped up pressure on their governments to reconsider their future with the EU following the development in Britain.

The realignment of diplomatic and trade relations between the now 27-nation EU and the world, according to experts, is likely to follow.

But will the EU survive? Its policy on immigration and asylum played a major role in tilting Britain's referendum and it is something the anti-EU and far-right parties are playing on.

Netherlands: "Our money, our borders"

A survey by a Dutch television channel Een Vandaag this week revealed that 54 percent of the people in the Netherlands 'wanted a referendum of their own'.

The Dutch anti-immigration leader Geert Wilders, who is leading opinion polls, said if he were to come to power in the March general election he too would call for a referendum.

"We want be in charge of our own country, our own money, our own borders, and our own immigration policy. As quickly as possible the Dutch need to get the opportunity to have their say about Dutch membership of the European Union."

A man carries a EU flag, after Britain voted to leave the European Union, outside Downing Street in London.

France: "Victory for freedom"

The far-right National Front (FN) party in France termed the British decision to leave the EU a "victory for freedom" and has demanded a similar referendum in the country.

"We now need to hold the same referendum in France and in (other) EU countries," FN chief Marine Le Pen said.

Italy: "Euro 2"

Italy's anti-establishment 5-Star movement, buoyed by big gains in local elections, has called for the country to 'reassess' its relations with the EU and is focused particularly on whether to keep the euro currency.

5-Star has suggested Europe adopts two different currencies, one for the rich north and another for southern countries.

"We want a consultative referendum on the euro," 5-Star's Luigi Di Maio said during a talk show.

"The euro as it is today does not work. We either have alternative currencies or a 'Euro 2'."

Denmark: "Danes should have a referendum"

Another anti-immigration party, Denmark's populist 'Danish People's Party' (DF) urged the government to give the people a voice in the EU debate.

The Danish People's Party, an ally of the right-leaning government, said it wanted a referendum about continued membership once Britain has negotiated the terms for its future cooperation with the union.

"I believe that the Danes obviously should have a referendum on whether we want to follow Britain or keep things the way we have it now," DF party leader Kristian Thulesen Dahl told broadcaster DR.

A general view of the British overseas territory of Gibraltar (bottom), the Spanish city of La Linea de la Concepcion (R) and Algeciras Bay are pictured from the Rock in Gibraltar, south of Spain

Spain: The issue of Gibraltar

In the first indication of how complicated Britain's exit from the EU could turn out to be, Spain announced it would seek co-sovereignity on Gibraltar, a major point of contention in relations between the two countries.

Gibraltar, a small peninsula off the south coast of Spain, has been a British Overseas Territory since 1713 and known to its 30,000 residents as 'the Rock'.

"It's a complete change of outlook that opens up new possibilities on Gibraltar not seen for a very long time. I hope the formula of co-sovereignity - to be clear, the Spanish flag on the Rock - is much closer than before," Spain's acting foreign minister Jose Manuel Garcia-Margallo said.

A spokesman for Gibraltar's government declined to comment on the Brexit vote and referred to previous statements made on how co-sovereignty had already been rejected by around 99 percent of Gibraltarians in a previous local referendum.

The European Union reacts: "What doesn't kill you, makes you stronger"

European Union leaders are determined to keep the unity of the EU, the chairman of the leaders Donald Tusk said, noting the EU had been prepared for such an outcome.

"What doesn't kill you, makes you stronger," Tusk told reporters in a statement.

"I want to reassure everyone that we are prepared also for this negative scenario."

Tusk said there was no way to predict all the political consequences of the vote, especially for Britain, but that it is not a moment for "hysterical reactions."

"Today, on behalf of the 27 leaders I can say that we are determined to keep our unity as 27."

TRTWorld, Reuters