WELCOME TO EUROPE DECIDES » INSIGHTS INTO POLITICS, ECONOMICS AND BUSINESS IN EUROPE, FROM BURSON-MARSTELLER EMEA

Britain backs Brexit, Cameron to resign

Britain has spoken – and it has voted to leave the European Union, bringing an end to the premiership of David Cameron.

The sensational result – which confounded the eve-of-poll opinion polls and the betting markets – was announced early on Friday morning.

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52% of voters elected to Leave the European Union, while 48% opted to Remain. With a high turnout of 72%, early indications suggest that the Eurosceptic vote by blue-collar Labour voters has far exceeded expectations and proven a pivotal factor in the outcome.

So what happens next? While this unprecedented vote means no-one really knows, here are six things to look for over the coming days and weeks.

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Referendum reaction

Uk flags - Flickr Dave_S.

European Union leaders

Martin Schulz, President of the European Parliament, Donald Tusk, President of the European Council, Mark Rutte, Holder of the rotating Presidency of the Council of the EU, and Jean-Claude Juncker, President of the European Commission, issued a joint statement on the outcome of the referendum.

The said that they “regret this decision but respect it. This is an unprecedented situation but we are united in our response. We will stand strong and uphold the EU’s core values of promoting peace and the well-being of its peoples. The Union of 27 Member States will continue.”

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Dealing with a weighty issue

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Europe has many big problems. Migration, unemployment, social exclusion and the rise of extremism dominate the headlines; but the continent’s obesity epidemic is a problem that is often downplayed.

And it is a major public health concern.

The latest World Health Organization estimates suggest that most adults in the EU are overweight; nearly a quarter are obese. WHO Europe estimates that obesity is responsible for up to eight per cent of health costs and one in every eight deaths.

So what can Europe do to tackle the problem?

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Dealing with discontent after the Dutch ‘No’

Dutch flag

The Dutch have once again thrown a spanner in Europe’s works.

Eleven years after the people of the Netherlands rejected the European Union’s constitutional treaty, they have delivered another ‘nee’ – this time to an Association Agreement with Ukraine.

The vote was decisive – more than 60 per cent of voters opposed the agreement (albeit on a low turnout). But was it a ‘no’ to the agreement, or to the political and media establishment?

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Dutch voters say ‘No’ to Ukraine deal

EU and Ukraine flags

The Dutch government will not automatically ratify the EU-Ukraine Association Agreement.

Prime Minister Mark Rutte made the announcement after initial exit polls indicated that a large majority of voters had opposed ratification in an advisory referendum on Wednesday 6 April.

Although the consultative referendum is non-binding, the Prime Minister and the leaders of all political parties have made it clear that the strong ‘No’ vote has consequences. What those consequences are in practice will be clarified over the coming weeks.

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Super Sunday shakes the centre in Germany

Leaders' Meeting on refugee flows along the Western Balkans route

The results of the ‘Super Sunday’ regional elections in Baden-Wurttemberg, Rhineland-Palatinate and Saxony-Anhalt have shaken up German politics.

In all three states, the parties of the incumbent minister-presidents came out on top in what were personality-driven elections. But each will be forced to build new coalitions to form a government.

The Christian Democrats of Chancellor Angela Merkel (pictured), and her centre-left Social Democrat coalition partners, suffered substantial losses.

With the next federal elections only 18 months away, the results will have significant consequences for German and European politics.

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Words  Christian Thams (Burson-Marsteller Berlin)
Photo  (c) European Union, 2016