As I sip Austrian espresso in a Local Slovenian café, faint rumblings of Swedish house music complete this international picture. Yet as the espresso dregs leave a dark soot coating on the cup it is not the continental coffee that leaves a bitter taste in my mouth. It is easy to forget the political turmoil facing Britain after spending 3 weeks studying international macroeconomics in the Slovenian capital. Yet when conversing with other, international students, “Brexit?” has slotted itself in the international repertoire of pleasantries. As if asking “are you one of the good guys?”. Initially I found this line of small talk disconcerting, like I needed to reassure my peers that despite Britain’s rhetoric I was not of similar persuasion as the ‘majority’. Yet as days went on and conversations became deeper than the pile of shit Britain was in, I finally understood their concerns. I could see first hand their perplexity, which echoed mine upon hearing that Hunt had kept his cabinet position. So I began to catalogue these encounters, and a precis of them can be seen below.
“From my point of view Brexit preyed on a lack of education, instead utilising an arsenal of fear and scaremongering, where self interest was placed above real national interest.” – Marko, Slovenia.
“I think the impact of Brexit will be almost zero on my personal life. As for the Netherlands I expect some large financial changes. I am convinced that large companies are/will switch their headquarters from London to other capitals, like Amsterdam. But hopefully this will end with Britain, and other European countries don’t distract themselves and leave the EU, as the consequences for Europe would fall apart.”- Ruud, The Netherlands.
“In my opinion the Brexit promoters are the equivalent of American Trump voters, they feel left behind, but they do not question why. The Majority will regret the decision soon, as unemployment increased since most of the banks and start-ups saw London as an opportunity to access other European markets. Furthermore the Brexiteers were complaining about EU regulations, yet even if separate from the EU, to continue trading with the EU they will still have to comply with the regulations. In total this will just result in economic downturn and a depreciation of the Pound.”– Bastian, Germany.
“Brexit is a great example of why the voting age should be at least reconsidered. Personally, I am not sure that it is acceptable to let the oldest in society decide the outcome of such an important question, when they will not suffer the long-term consequences (even if it sounds mean). Brexit will make life in the UK a lot more difficult as tensions rise internationally. They say that every cloud has a silver lining but in this case I am not sure, as the disadvantages; increased border restrictions, the lack of EU funding, VISA’s, greatly outweigh the advantages”. – Bernadett, Hungary.
“Brexit is a socio-political issue, and its impact on South America can be considered directly in financial markets and indirectly in the cultural realm. Financially speaking Brexit represents a pessimism and negativity, which has been projected onto the Colombian stock market, especially in the petroleum industry. Regarding the cultural impact of Brexit, I think it is very disappointing to see one of the worlds most advanced and developed country’s seeking isolation instead of collaboration. But it is even sadder to know that 48% of the voters didn’t want this to happen. It makes you wonder if there are any alternatives to our current ‘democratic’ decision-making systems.”- Carlos, Colombia.
“For the Czech Republic it means gaining a working visa for the UK. But internationally for the UK I don’t think it means that much, as it can still benefit from international agreements from the EU and commonwealth. In fact by becoming more independent Britain has a greater ability to decide its own future.” – Denisa, Czech Republic.
So as the continental murmurs come to a close and the pungent coffee slowly vacates my palate, Brexit like a plane trail still lingers in the air. Indeed the reverberations of the referendum can certainly be felt abroad, amidst confusion, worry and disdain. After feeling nothing but acceptance and fraternity from sLOVEnia it feels like I’m leaving more than Austrian coffee behind upon returning back to Britain.
Are you a young person outside of the UK with something to say about Brexit? Tell us what you think in the comments below.
Quotes gathered by Joe Rogers
Joe is currently studying Politics at the University of Sheffield, for more short musings please follow at @username_JOE.