Close on the heels of the murder of British MP Jo Cox, United Kingdom is polling on Thursday to decide if the country will ‘leave’ or ‘remain’ in the European Union (EU).
Apart from Asian markets wobbling and oil prices rising, reactions are pouring in from all quarters of the world, both favouring and defying the idea of the British exit from EU.
United Kingdom Independence Party (UKIP) leader Nigel Farage, who favours Brexit, reportedly pulled out of a television debate right ahead of the EU referendum. While polling started this morning, he had already been actively urging the social media users on Twitter to ‘vote’ and ‘get our country back’.
Brexit would raise eyebrows in Ireland
Expressing concern, however, Ireland foreign minister Charlie Flanagan Wednesday said that Ireland would have to consider taking steps to assist firms exporting into Britain, if its nearest neighbour and largest trade partner votes to leave the European Union.
According to observers, Irish exporters would be the first to suffer if Brexit significantly weakened the Pound against the Euro and Flanagan said concerns were raised in meetings with trade bodies during the campaign.
"It's too early for me to speculate as to the nature of any actions that we may take, but we are fully sensitive to the challenge that lies ahead and the need to respond accordingly," Flanagan said and added, “In the event of there being a vote to leave, we would be primarily focused on strategic national Irish interests across a range of issues, primarily economic and trade, so we have prepared a plan across a range of departments."
About Euro 1.2 billion ($1.35 billion) worth of goods and services are traded between United Kingdom and Ireland each week with Irish farmers and food producers, major UK suppliers, particularly vulnerable.
Why some leaders do not want Britain to 'leave'
Businessman George Soros had earlier this week observed that Britain’s exit could lead to the depriciation of the Pound.
Many world leaders, including Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnball, are not in favour of UK’s exit from the EU.
"It would be a very big shock, there is no doubt about that, if Britain votes to leave the European Union. There will be obviously great efforts to ensure that the consequences of that shock are minimised,” he said ahead of polls. "Clearly, Britain is not voting to leave NATO, for example, so the strategic implications are not as severe as they could be, if that were the case. But it will be a big shock and it is a reminder as Margaret Thatcher once said 'to expect the unexpected'. There are a lot of headwinds in the global economy, there are a lot of challenges, there are a lot of things that are beyond our control that effect global markets, that effect us."