The United Kingdom has voted to leave the European Union. Just over half of Britons voted to exit the EU in a referendum on Thursday. Currency markets were immediately affected. Britain's pound fell to its lowest level against the dollar since 1985. Britain's decision to leave is a political earthquake. Scotland and Northern Ireland voted to stay in the EU and are now thinking about breaking from the UK. A right-wing politician in Europe congratulated the UK for leaving. He said: "It is Great Britain's independence day….The European Union as a political union has failed."
The scale of the decision was summed up by a professor of politics, who said: "This is the biggest shock to European politics since the fall of the Berlin Wall." The vote has already led Britain's leader David Cameron to resign. He was leader of the campaign to stay part of the EU. He said the country needed "fresh leadership". Less certain is what will happen to the millions of non-British EU citizens living in Britain and the Britons living in other EU countries. Others may follow the UK's lead in exiting the EU. Politicians in Holland and France said: "Now it is our turn."