Several businesspeople walk across a bridge in the City of London, London's financial district.
Shutterstock / alice-photo

, Background: Brexit: What happens now? An overview

The Brexit is on its way, now that a majority of British voters have said they want to leave the European Union. We examined the impact Britain's departure will have on the United Kingdom and Europe. Here is an overview.

Aart De Geus, chairman and CEO of the Bertelsmann Stiftung, expressed his regrets over the outcome of the referendum in the UK. "This is bad news for the Brits because they will have a lot of losses. But it is also a disappointment for the other people in Europe because the project of Europe is extremely important," De Geus said in a video statement (see below). "We will continue the project to build on the security of Europe, on the economy, on the strength of Europe to create more jobs, to work on the social perspectives for the European people. But, unfortunately, without the Brits who now will have to play in the second league."

The Brexit vote in the UK is a watershed in European history. How should the EU react to it? Read our commentary "Brexit: Wake-up Call For More Active EU". 

What will the actual economic costs of the Brexit be for the UK and the EU? Answers to that question can be found in a Bertelsmann Stiftung study, which examined a number of possible scenarios. In the most extreme case, GDP in the UK could shrink by up to €313 billion over the long term and GDP in Germany could decline by up to €58 billion. A fact sheet published together with the study provides a detailed look at the costs that would result from Britain's departure from the EU.

And what does the business community think? A survey of business executives carried out by the Bertelsmann Stiftung prior to the referendum shows that business leaders in both Germany and the UK view the Brexit as a threat.

The infographic shows which attitudes and expectations German and British business executives show towards the scenario of a possible Brexit.
The most important results of our survey of business executives. You can download this infographic via the "Download" link next to this article.

Bureaucratic, undemocratic and out of touch are some of the persistent clichés used to describe the European Union, and not just in Britain. Yet the image people actually have of the EU is more complex than often thought, something shown by eupinions, the series of surveys carried out by the Bertelsmann Stiftung in the EU at regular intervals. According to the most recent survey, Brexit has increased the EU's approval ratings, even in the UK. The surveys also reveal that fear of globalization is significantly impacting political attitudes among Europeans. For example, those people who are skeptical of globalization are also considerably more critical of both the EU and democracy.

Even if the British had voted to remain in the EU, cooperation within Europe would not have been easy, thanks to the deal struck by Prime Minister Cameron in February to reform the EU. In fact, it would have become even more complicated, as our analysis of the conditions imposed by the deal illustrates.

The Bertelsmann Stiftung is examining the consequences of a Brexit as part of our Europe's Future program and our Global Economic Dynamics project. The GED blog brings together a range of information on the Brexit's economic impact. In addition, our Brussels Office and the Bertelsmann Foundation North America  in Washington provide analyses written from an international perspective, thereby expanding on the Bertelsmann Stiftung's project work in the area of European affairs.

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