I am sure that you have heard the news regarding the EU Referendum and may have felt the shock wave that the result has sent through the world this morning. To be honest, we woke up, switched on the news and couldn’t believe the result ourselves.

For those of you that are still confused, let me fill in the blanks:

Yesterday, on the 23rd of June, the UK voted on their continued membership of the European Union (EU). The British public was asked to vote whether the UK should remain a member of the political union or to leave the bloc of nations that form the EU. Over 17 million people made up the 51.9% of voters that voted to leave the EU.

What happens next?

The new British Prime Minister needs to trigger Article 50, a piece of legislation that allows a member state to leave the EU. Once triggered, a 2-year negotiation period starts that will allow the UK and EU to negotiate a future relationship with one another. The UK will remain a full EU member until the end of the 2-year negotiation period.

What is the immediate impact (in the last 12-24 hours) on the UK?

  • The biggest hit, I think, is the stock market with the FTSE 100 loosing £120bn.
  • Pound Sterling is not worth as much as it was before and most people are afraid that this will cut the value of their pensions or even result in jobs being lost.
  • It now costs more to buy US Dollars, which means that fuel prices are higher in the UK as oil prices are traded in US Dollar.
  • The Pound also weakened to the Euro, which means we can buy fewer Euros on mainland Europe and holidays to France or Spain (for example) will now be more expensive.
  • Imported food, like most of our fruit, will be more expensive as the Pound buys less abroad than before the vote.

However, the Bank of England has issued a report saying that people in the UK should stay calm. The central bank announced they are “very well prepared for this and have all the measures in place to move the UK economy forward”.

Why did the UK vote out?

Even though Elaine and I voted remain, I believe that the UK voted out for a number of valid reasons:

Politically: the Brits don’t like the fact that the laws made in Brussels are seen as ‘higher’, ‘stronger’ or ‘more important’ than the laws made in Westminster. The Brits don’t like the fact that the EU has a parliament with multiple presidents that cost the taxpayer millions of Euros each year, yet no one really knows who they are or what they really do. They feel that the EU’s way of governance is flawed and has a negative impact on all EU member states, not just the UK.

Economically: clearly the majority of the voters feel that the UK spends too much money on the EU and gets little in return. Millions of Pounds leave the UK to help cover the national debt of other EU member states and most Britons felt this needed to stop. For months, the remain campaign told us that access to the EU’s single market is the biggest benefit of being an EU member, but seems like the UK would rather keep the funds that previously left our shores to improve the national health care system, hospitals and schools even though it meant putting our access to the single market and customs union at risk. Being outside the EU’s single market and customs union will enable the UK to sign trade deals with the rest of the world on their own terms. Yes, trade deals with other countries could take years to negotiate, but since 85% of global GDP is outside the EU, this could be a major benefit in the long term.

Security: the UK wants to take back complete control of their borders and deny entry to anyone if they pose a threat. The UK also doesn’t buy into the EU’s vision to build a European Army by 2020 that may force the UK to get involved in international issues they did not opt for.

Immigration: currently, there is a free movement agreement between all members of the EU. Any EU citizen can live and work in any other EU country without restriction. The problem for Britain was that there are more people (a lot more people) entering the UK than people leaving the UK which puts the healthcare and education systems under pressure. The UK wants to control immigration by only allowing EU citizens into the country that can work in the UK and contribute to the economy – the same rules non-EU citizens need to follow.

These are only a few arguments I’ve heard from the dominant ‘leave’ campaign over the last few months but I personally believe that the only thing that will truly be able to tell us the impact of Brexit, is time.

What does the EU say about this?

Bit of mixed reactions here – the EU Commission President have stated it’s a decision the British will regret for decades to come, German leaders have said that “it’s time to react responsibly about the UK leaving the Union” whilst politicians from France, Italy and the Netherlands have praised the UK electorate for having the ‘guts’ to leave. According to reports published this morning, the French and the Dutch (who has general elections coming up) could also call for EU membership referendums should centre-right parties, that is currently gaining more and more ground, come into power.

Lastly, what does this mean for us, Andre and Elaine?

Our visas were issued by the UK Government and leaving the EU makes absolutely no difference to our immigration status. We can continue to work and live in the UK for the full duration of our visa. However, Elaine’s company are running multiple projects in Europe and we are not yet sure how this could (potentially) change their business landscape. For now, we’re not making any assumptions and, despite what you may see on the news, we’re not freaking out about this. The UK is Europe’s second-biggest economy and leaving the EU will have a massive impact on both sides of the channel. The only thing that will truly tell us the impact of Brexit is time. The world is not going to end because of Brexit (it’s going to end with a robot uprising, but that’s not until at least 2053), so let’s all just breathe and wait it out.

Finally, I’ll leave you with this thought (pun of course intended):

At the end of the day, no matter what happens to the UK, the EU or the rest of the world for that matter, the only thing we know for certain is that God is still good! Everything else is secondary.