They said, “Let’s go,” shocking the entire world.
No country has ever left the 28-nation European Union … until now. On Thursday, June 23, the United Kingdom voted to separate from the EU – sending financial markets reeling, up-ending a world power’s leadership and triggering a wave of emotion across Europe.
This is how the dramatic decision unfolded, how you’re affected and what happens now:
THE FINAL RESULTS
Hold up …
Not everyone wants to leave. The majority in Scotland voted to stay. It will now hold its own referendum to leave the UK and remain with the EU. The map tells a very big story.
Some called it a catastrophe. Others said it was a revolution. But one thing is certain: The UK’s vote exposed a significant rift among its people.
THE GENERATIONAL DIVIDE
Polling data leading up to the vote consistently showed that younger voters wanted to remain part of the EU, and they were angry about the final results.
“I’m so angry. A generation given everything: Free education, golden pensions, social mobility have voted to strip my generation’s future,” Adam Newman from Bristol said on Twitter.
Is Boris next?
Former London Mayor Boris Johnson, who campaigned hard to leave the EU, is Davd Cameron’s likely successor as prime minister. Johnson was greeted by a booing crowd the morning after the vote.
As the vote swung toward “leave,” the British pound dropped to its lowest level in more than 30 years.
Meanwhile it was a dark day for the market as tumbling stocks hit Europe, Asia, London and Wall Street.
THE MONEY QUESTIONS YOU’RE ASKING
Is this 2008 all over again? Although investors across the world went into panic mode as stocks tumbled, experts urged everyone to keep calm. “This may be more of a political crisis than a financial crisis. That makes this different from Lehman Brothers going under in 2008,” Chris Gaffney, president of EverBank World Markets, told CNN Money. “It does not look like this is a liquidity crisis. But it’s a big deal.”
What about jobs? Leaving the EU could put many jobs at risk. Many American and global banks and companies have invested heavily in the UK as a gateway to Europe. Some companies could relocate staff to avoid obstacles in business.
Will Britain’s European workers have to leave? An estimated 1.9 million EU-born migrants are working in the UK. Things won’t change right away, but it’s unclear what will happen in the future. They have at least two years to keep working.
How will this affect travel? If you’re a foreign traveler, good news! It’s cheaper to go to the UK due to the falling British pound. (Ahh, the silver lining.) The UK will probably see fewer tourists from the EU, which made up seven of the top 10 countries that visited last year. But don’t even get us started on those longer lines at immigration…
But what if I am a British traveler? You can most likely breathe a sigh of relief. Because Britain isn’t part of Europe’s borderless Schengen zone, you’re already checked at entrance points in EU-member nations. You can show your passport, but you won’t need a stamp to enter. This probably won’t change even after Brexit.
Even though the EU now wants a swift exit, this won’t happen overnight. It will take two years.
HOW DID IT COME TO THIS?
The UK has had a rocky relationship with Europe for decades.
CNN’s Bryony Jones, Angela Dewan, Sean O’Key, Paul R. La Monica, Mark Thompson and Alanna Petroff contributed to this story.