Eurosceptic politicians across the continent have been celebrating the British referendum result
In a truly historic referendum, Britain has voted to leave the EU.
The divorce process will be long and complex. However, one of the big fears for European authorities is what sort of impact this will have across the rest of the continent.
EU research has previously shown the Euroscepticism was highest in Greece. This is no surprise - and the figures could be even higher after years of tense, difficult financial negotiations with the EU and the associated austerity measures.
The ruling Syriza party was voted in on an anti-austerity platform - although as a left-wing group, its ideologies differ from the right-wing groupings typically associated with more extreme levels of anti-EU sentiment.
An Ipsos-MORI poll of a number of European countries earlier this year found desire to leave 'Europe' was highest in Italy. The anti-EU Five Star Movement (M5S) has become the country's second-biggest political group, receiving more than 20% of the votes in both the most recent general and European elections.
In local elections less than a week ago, M5S won 19 of 20 mayoral seats. The party has already called for a referendum on the country’s use of the Euro.
While the Dutch have traditionally shown a strong level of support for the EU, the Netherlands has also been home to some of the strongest anti-EU sentiment in the union. Earlier this year, the country saw a protest vote mobilise to defeat a routine EU trade deal with Ukraine as a demonstration of their opposition to Brussels.
In a poll published in February, 53% of Dutch respondents expressed a preference for a referendum to be held.
Geert Wilders, leader of the anti-immigration ‘Party for Freedom’, used the Brexit result this morning to call for a Dutch referendum. He said: “We want [to] be in charge of our own country, our own money, our own borders, and our own immigration policy. If I become prime minister, there will be a referendum in the Netherlands on leaving the European Union as well. Let the Dutch people decide.”
Marine Le Pen's far-right and Eurosceptic group the National Front gained more votes in France than any other party in the first round of local elections in December. Establishment politicians breathed a sigh of relief when Le Pen’s party failed make any further gains in the second round.
However, the previously mentioned Ipsos-MORI poll showed that the desire to leave the EU was second highest in France, at 41%. With 23 MEPs, the National Front is also the largest French political group in the European Parliament. Unsurprisingly, Ms Le Pen also called for a referendum in France following the Brexit result:
Victoire de la liberté ! Comme je le demande depuis des années, il faut maintenant le même référendum en France et dans les pays de l'UE MLP— Marine Le Pen (@MLP_officiel) June 24, 2016
Many other countries - particularly Spain, Germany and Poland - have also seen a rise in Euroscepticism. Even Ireland, widely considered very supportive of the union, expressed its own ‘scepticism’ with the rejection of the initial versions of the Nice and Lisbon treaties.
However, it’s important to note that in many cases anti-EU sentiment could primarily be related to reform of the union or a move away from any potential European ‘superstate’. Many member states would likely support reform or restructuring measures as opposed to a full on ‘exit’.
The UK has changed the game, however. While it will likely be years until they formally leave the union and reach any new arrangement, the vote itself is likely to excite Eurosceptics across the continent.
It’s very likely the EU could be facing another member state’s exit sooner rather than later - and growing scepticism towards the Europe 'project' could ultimately see the union itself in danger.