Young Europeans discuss about the Brexit: from disbelief to reality

30 Jun

On the night of 23 June, Olivier T, a French resident in London, went to bed calm. Surveys, although tight, gave the victory to "Bremain". The morning news dropped on him like a bucket of cold water. "UK is out "opening the covers of digital media worldwide. 52% of voters had chosen to break the relation with the European Union. It is a situation without historical precedent. "I did not think that something like this could happen, in fact, not even had wondered how it would affect my personal situation," he says. "For the people of London, the 'Brexit' was not part of our reality because we live in a multicultural environment," says this 32 years old graduate in Marketing, who throughout his career has worked in European capitals such as Lisbon and Madrid. His roommate, Santiago Valencia, native from Colombia and with Spanish nationality could not believe it. For Santiago, the main problem is that this result is due to xenophobic motives. " All I hope is that there won’t be very bad consequences for us, or lose our rights because we have worked very hard to be here," he says.

Now, past the initial shock, it is known that the decision may take up to two years to become effective. It is not automatic and short or medium term will not affect jobs of European citizens. But uncertainty about how this process will unfold, perplexity and even anger and regret of many Britons who voted without considering the consequences are still latent.


 Can Brexit Be Reversed?

Faced with an uncertain outlook, more and more voices are calling for a second consultation. To date, more than 3 million signatures have supported citizen petition to the British Parliament, although it is true that 77,000 have been proven fraudulent. Its objective is to implement a rule requiring that the vote to stay have to be above 60% and at least participation higher than 75% of the population.

John Ainger, a 24 year old British journalist says; "at this point, anything can happen", but to open another consultation process "would be very controversial." He continues "the 'Brexit' has been a terrible example of democracy: uninformed electorate, campaign lies in an exceptionally tight end result." John believes that the victory of the Eurosceptics also opens a generational debate. 64% of Britons aged between 18 and 24 would prefer to stay in the EU, according to a recent survey by YouGov. Do not blame them however, "if we want important decisions of this country, take only the young, have an age limit to vote," while acknowledging he was "very frustrated and upset with the result."


Europe calls for UK to leave "soon"

However, it seems that the result could be revoked. Jean-Claude Juncker, President of the European Commission, has called for the departure procedures to be speeded up, and that "divorce" will take place "soon". The reason for the rush is to avoid a contagion effect which would have devastating consequences for the economy and political stability of the 27 member countries. European leaders made reference to Article 50 of the Treaty on European Union (TEU) processing the voluntary withdrawal of a Member State before starting any conversation. Meanwhile, the Eurosceptics respond that there is no hurry, without showing a clear roadmap. According to Antti Saarenpää, a Finnish 26 year old who lives in the British capital believes that future agreements needn’t have to be necessarily catastrophic. "The UK remains undoubtedly one of the most important trading partners of the EU, so that both parties expect to benefit from a fair agreement." Of course, for that to happen, political goodwill is needed from the European Union.


UK unit, in check

The threat of territorial dismemberment is another major problem. With 60 percent of votes in favor of permanence, the Scottish first minister, Nicola Sturgeon, announced another referendum for the independence to continue in the EU as an independent state. In Northern Ireland, the other to Europe also won with 55.78% of the votes, so they do not accept that Britain decides for them. In a recent interview with The Guardian, the 'number two' of the Northern Ireland Executive, Martin McGuinness even mentioned the possibility of reuniting the two Irelands.

The socioeconomic difference between these areas and the less euro-enthusiasts regions such as Wales or England, show a fragmented and divided UK. On the one hand, in the most impoverished areas, it has permeated the anti-immigration discourse promoted by the UK Independence Party (UKIP), and social unrest has led to a protest vote after changing the status-quo. On the other hand, cities like London want to remain open to the world and benefit from the advantages of a European passport.

Political chaos and turmoil in the economy

As if this were not enough, the political scene, following the resignation of David Cameron - the main promoter of the referendum called for the permanence - is unpredictable and could go hand in hand in the resignation of Corbyn, Labour leader. Meanwhile, ex-mayor Boris Johnson of London has emerged as the conservative candidate to lead this output. Although without the support of the deputies nothing it is clear. "The political consequences of Brexit have long-term implications," says John.

In the short term, the economic downturn has also taken its toll on the markets. Since the result was known, the pound has fallen somewhat 15% percent, returning to levels prior to 30 years. Antti, for example, has seen in two days, his salary "has decreased by 9%" due to the collapse of the currency.

This tsunami may have an impact on employment and attracting talent. According to a study by consulting firm Price Water Cooper, in 2020 there will be between 70,000 and 100,000 fewer jobs compared to the estimate if he had remained in the EU number. Claudia de Meluemeester, Italo-Belgian resident also in London, fears affected his international career. "The 'Brexit' is assuming a nightmare for young people like me," said the young woman of 23, who has just completed a master of business journalism at City University. "We have grown in a unified Europe and now we see our career stalled due to economic uncertainty, social unrest and political incompetent" his serious mood, it reflects a mixture of resignation and disbelief. "What future ahead will we have now?" 

Although the result of the referendum implies abandoning the European Union European legislation in matters of health, labor or mobility will continue at least for two years, according to information revealed in recent days. UK needs to draw a roadmap for their future and to start negotiations, so that certain areas will not be affected in the short term.

If you are European and/or live in the UK, please tell us how you are living the 'Brexit' in the comments. In EazyCity we want to know your story.

Sergio Luchetta, Italian living in London:
“I was saddened to watch the news on Friday morning, following the referendum results of Thursday night, simply because I hardly believe that in life, being together makes us complete and stronger. I respect the decision of the British citizens to leave the EU. At the same time I would like to tell to all people as me, who decided to leave their own country for a better future and to follow a dream, to do not give up and try to guess what is going to be the outcome of this referendum. This last, was the very first step of a long process that may take years. So, don’t change your plans and keep dreaming!”

Troy Spillane, Irish living in Cork: 
“The decision to leave the EU will have disastrous consequences for the youth of the UK I feel. I do believe there were genuine concerns that needed to be answered by parliament in relation to immigration in particular, however, the decision to leave the EU altogether was not the right decision in my opinion. My mother was born in the UK and moved to Ireland as a youth where she met my father. I have many aunts, uncles and cousins in the UK and I feel closely linked to the country. Working for EazyCity Cork I spend much of my days working with many different nationalities including Italians, Spanish and French to name a few. The open borders policy of the EU has helped turn Cork into a very diverse, cultural and exciting city and I feel we are all the better for it – I believe the open doors policy was one of the main issues for voters in this referendum. I worry for the future of the UK as a result and I find it hard to understand why the UK citizens would leave themselves so vulnerable to higher taxes, political uncertainty and an unsure future. I hope for their sake an amicable agreement can be decided on between the UK and the EU.”

Jennifer Steedman, Irish living in Cork: 
"For better or for worse the British people’s vote on Thursday to leave the EU is a momentous turning point in European history. I am personally saddened by the outcome of the referendum. Amongst other things membership of the EU means freedom of movement and the ability to choose to work or live in any of the 28 countries without the need for special visas. Brexit could very well mean the end of such freedom for any of us wishing to travel to and work in the UK. However, nothing will change overnight and much time is needed to assess the implications. The UK will remain a member of the EU while the departure procedure plays out as Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty imposes a two-year deadline. The model of future relations worked out between the UK and the EU, as well as on how quickly this is agreed to, will determine the scale and nature of the impact. So to any young EU citizens wishing to work in the UK I say don't change your plans just yet! I do however hope that this does not herald a return to the xenophobic nationalism of the early-20th century and I hope that Ireland, France, Spain, Italy and other countries do not decide to believe, because I believe, as history shows, that a unified Europe is stronger in terms of both peace and prosperity."