Polls open Thursday for UK vote on leaving European Union

Insight

Polls open Thursday for UK vote on leaving European Union

Polls will open across the U.K. Thursday, as voters answer a critical question: should their country leave the European Union?  

Leading up to the vote, the Remain camp has picked up more support, but the result is expected to be close.

CCTV’s Richard Bestic has Insight from London.

With just hours of campaigning to go before Britain’s Brexit referendum, leaders of the Leave and Remain sides have been traveling the country in one final push for votes. A public letter from more than 1,200 business leaders saying leaving the EU would harm the economy and cost Britain jobs has boosted those wanting to stay in. Most opinion polls, however, suggest the outcome remains too close to call.

Polls open Thursday for UK vote on leaving European Union

Polls open Thursday for UK vote on leaving European Union

Polls will open across the U.K. Thursday, as voters answer a critical question: should their country leave the European Union? CCTV’s Richard Bestic has Insight from London.

Aboard his Brexit battle bus, U.K. Prime Minister David Cameron summed up six months of campaigning in a single word: together.

“If we want a bigger economy and more jobs, we’re better if we do it together,” Cameron said. “If we want to fight climate change, we’re better if we do it together. If we want to win against the terrorists and keep our country safe, we’re better if we do it together.”

Boris Johnson, EU Leave campaigner, in a visit to a fish market in London, still insisted there is something fishy about Brussels interfering in Britain.

“Sixty percent of the laws of our country coming from Brussels, our entire fisheries controlled by Brussels,” Johnson said. “So you take back control and I think it would be a big, big moment for democracy in this country and around Europe.”

Others see Thursday’s vote as liberation day.

“We can vote to take control of our country back,” Nigel Farage, U.K. Independence Party Leader, said. “We can vote to get our borders back. We can vote to get our pride and self respect as a nation, and in who we are as a people back.”

The U.K.’s referendum appears to be part of a wider Euroscepticism in capitals across the continent.

“Europe is not in good shape,” Germain Finance Minister Wolfgang Schauble said. “Let’s not be deceived about that.”

“Now we have to realize that Europe, which is in true crisis, needs to redefine its vision and prospects,” Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras said.

Cameron said come Friday morning, if Britain’s still in the European Union, the campaign for reform will only be just getting underway. 


How Brexit vote could impact Brussels

A Brexit could cause a political and economic earthquake for the EU. But it is business as usual in Brussels, the de facto capital of Europe.

CCTV’s Kate Parkinson reports. Follow Kate Parkinson on Twitter.

How Brexit vote could impact Brussels

How Brexit vote could impact Brussels

A Brexit could cause a political and economic earthquake for the EU. But it is business as usual in Brussels, the de facto capital of Europe. CCTV’s Kate Parkinson reports.

At the daily media briefing, the European Commission spokesman was vague about what Brexit contingency plans are being discussed behind closed doors.

“I can enlighten you a little bit, but what I cannot do is tell you what they are going to discuss because this is something that they will decide themselves,” Alexander Winterstein, European Commission Spokesperson, said. “The Commissioners are going to take stock of the situation tomorrow, and look ahead at the days to come.

Journalists working in Brussels said it’s a rather surreal atmosphere — a feeling of calm before some potentially very stormy weather.

“They’re waiting. Some of them are praying and holding their breath that the vote will go in favor of a Remain vote on Thursday,” Bruno Waterfield a British journalist, said. “One of the reasons why people haven’t yet had a very detailed conversation is because this is uncharted territory. Genuinely, it is ‘here be monsters’ kind of territory. They really don’t know what this will bring or what it will mean.”

One thing is for sure, if the U.K. votes to leave it will have a profound and lasting impact on the EU, according to political analyst, Zsolt Darvas.

“If they vote for Leave then this will be a major setback to European integration,” Darvas said. “There is no precedent for a country to leave the European community, or the European Union so negations could last for years.”

If there is a Brexit, then by Friday morning, it will be a very different atmosphere in Brussels. The Brussels machine will kick into action, the corridors will be bustling with activity and there will be some very urgent talks underway, as EU officials will have to rapidly decide how to deal with losing a member for the first time in history.


Damian Chalmers gives the Brexit basics

For more on the Brexit, CCTV America’s Asieh Namdar spoke to Damian Chalmers, professor of European union law at the London School of Economics and Political Science, about how the vote is expected to go and what will happen once the results are in.