Estonian MEP: Breakup of UK increasingly likely

  • 2016-06-26

The outcome of the Brexit referendum earlier this week may raise the chances of the European Union’s collapse, Estonian MEP Urmas Paet has said.

"That holding the referendum and leaving the EU may lead to a breakup of Great Britain itself is increasingly likely," the former longtime foreign minister of Estonia speculated on social media. "But this too didn't matter to the Brexit activists."

Breaking down the UK by section, Scotland produced the second-highest remain vote in the referendum, at 62 per cent to 38 per cent, after Gibraltar, which voted to stay in the EU 96 per cent to 4 per cent. Northern Ireland, which will now have a land border with Ireland, also voted remain, at 56 per cent to 44 per cent. Wales and England both voted Leave by 53 per cent to 47 per cent margins.

Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland have populations of 5.2 million, 3 million, and 1.8 million, respectively.

Scottish leader Nicola Sturgeon said on Friday Scotland will immediately launch talks with EU nations and institutions to find a way to remain in the bloc despite the Brexit vote. Sturgeon said Scottish voters gave "emphatic" backing to remaining a member state. A majority of voters in more-populous England opted to leave.

After meeting with her Cabinet she said: "We will seek to enter into immediate discussion" with the other EU member states. She also said a new referendum on Scotland’s independence from the UK is "very much on the table."

The Electoral Commission of Britain on Friday morning endorsed the outcome of Thursday's referendum whereby 51.9 per cent of voters backed exit from the EU, against 48.1 per cent who voted remain. The number of votes given for exit was 17.4 million and of votes given for remain 16.1 million. Altogether 33.6 million people or 72.2 per cent of the electorate took part in the referendum.