The United Kingdom’s vote to leave the European Union is the worst setback Europe’s leaders have suffered during more than half a century of painstaking efforts to bind that continent together economically and politically. It was wholly unforeseen and ran counter to the bulk of expert advice, which warned that a British exit would badly hurt the U.K. economy. But foes of the EU dismissed the warnings as overblown, argued that “Brexit” is essential to regain control of immigration and said the U.K. can compensate for a loss of trade with Europe by negotiating deals with other parts of the world. As the new government of Prime Minister Theresa May ponders what to do in the aftermath of the Brexit vote, leaders across Europe are wrestling with their own crisis—how to hold the Union together and protect the continent’s fragile economy. Among the issues under debate: Can the EU survive without Britain? Will the U.K. prosper outside the European Union? Can London retain its place as a global financial center?read full report
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Can the EU and U.K. survive a breakup?
A Brexit advocate at a rally in Bolton, England, one month before voters approved a withdrawal from the EU. Some analysts saw the vote as the latest manifestation of a growing reaction against global integration. (Christopher Furlong/Getty Images)