For hours on Friday it was the trending topic on Twitter: the referendum in which the majority of Britons voted to leave the European Union. What are the consequences of this Brexit for Europe and for the United Kingdom itself? EM spoke to EUR students and their assessment was unanimous: no one benefits from Brexit.

Alice Smith (21), a British Media & Communication student is against Brexit


“I see little benefit from Brexit. The argument in the UK is that it would allow us to finally close our borders to other Europeans who come here to work. But in doing so, many Brits forget that we can do the same in Europe: we are free to live and work there. As a British student at Erasmus University, I find it an enriching experience to live, study and work in the Netherlands. In the future, I would also love to do that in other European countries, but now that will be much more difficult. In addition, the argument of protecting the borders is being fed by increasing levels of racism in the UK, and that’s a real problem. Just look at the rise of UKIP, the right-wing populist party led by Nigel Farage.”

Floor van Houwelingen (21), Criminology student, is against Brexit


“This is not a good result for Europe. This continent needs reconciliation between the big three: the UK, Germany and France. In this way, Europe can form a strong block. Brexit will actually lead to a loss of credibility for the EU and cause divisions within Europe. I am worried that this result will spark more terrorist attacks. Terrorists could play on these divisions and stoke the fire between various groups. Proponents of Brexit are, after all, hostile to foreigners.”

Teeuwes Middelbrink (19), Public Administration student, is against Brexit


“I understand that the British are tired of all the EU rules, such as those where the refugees were distributed among Member States. I just think that it’s problematic that the UK has chosen to leave the EU now. I expect that they will conclude trade agreements with individual European countries. I think that’s a problem. The EU only works if everyone is on the same track. No country should be able to have its EU cake and eat it, by concluding trade agreements, yet not helping with the Greek bailout. If that happens, each member state can dodge EU rules. Now the UK wants to leave the EU, as far as I’m concerned, they shouldn’t be able to conclude trade agreements with other European countries. I really believe in the EU, because we need this union to stand strong against major powers like the US and Russia. Certainly in times like these, dealing with the influx of refugees and instable economies, the EU can help provide a certain level of stability.”

Martijn Vermeulen (21), History student, sees advantages in Brexit


“Brexit is a big disaster for the British themselves, let’s be clear about that. For example, the value of their currency has already tanked. Still, this result serves as a useful wake-up call for the EU. It shows that the power of populists is spreading and that the EU will quickly fall apart if no reforms are introduced. Brexit will force the EU to reform and become more democratic, so the people have a much greater say. As such, citizens of the Member States will once again get behind the EU to guarantee its survival. And that’s important. Thanks to the EU, we as Europe can play a major role in global economics and politics.”