British voters made their decision on Thursday to leave the European Union, which forced David Cameron the Prime Minister to resign and dealt the largest blow to the European common currency project of more unity since the end of World War II.
On Friday, financial markets worldwide plunged as the referendum results were announced with 52% voting to leave the EU and 48% voting to stay. Britain joined the union over 40 years ago.
The pound dropped by up to 10% against the U.S. dollar on Friday to hit levels not seen since 1985, on fears this decision would hit investments in the fifth-largest economy in the world, threaten the role of London as one of the financial capitals of the world and bring months of uncertainty politically.
World stocks were on the way to one of their largest slumps every recorded, and billions of dollars in value were wiped off European companies.
Big banks in Britain took a beating that reached $130 billion, with Barclays and Lloyds dropping by up to 30% each when trading opened.
There now could be a breaking up of the United Kingdom as well, with Scotland’s leader, where close to 2/3 of the voters wanted to remain in the EU, saying there would be a new referendum dealing with independence from Britain would be highly likely.
Cameron was very emotional as he spoke about the gamble he had taken and lost, when he had called for the referendum over three years ago. Cameron confirmed that he would leave his office by sometime in October.
He said the people of Britain were very clear with their votes they wanted to take another path and due to that, the country will need fresh leadership said Cameron.
He added that he did not feel it was right for him to remain on and steer the country towards its next destination. He appeared to be choking back tears prior to walking into No. 10 Downing Street hold his wife close to his side.
Quitting the European Union could cost access to the trader barrier-free single market of the EU and means it will have to seek new trade agreements with countries worldwide.
The EU because of this vote will be politically and economically damaged, and faces the not just the departure of its biggest proponent of free market but also a member that has a Security Council veto in the UN, a strong army as well as nuclear capabilities.
In one vote, the EU lost close to one sixth of its complete economic output.