So Brexit Happened – but What Does It Mean for Americans?
Cheaper travel within England yes, but a changed royal family? Nope!
Well, it happened: on Thursday night, the U.K. voted to leave the EU in a historic, super-close (52 to 48 percent) referendum.
Everyone around the world is talking about it. But how will this decision impact those of us in the U.S.? Here are five big ways:
1. It’ll be cheaper to visit the U.K.
Like, way cheaper. Even while the votes were being counted, the pound sterling started to plummet. Right now, it’s landed at the lowest it’s been since 1985, at £1 equaling $1.38. At this time last year, £1 was worth $1.57.
While that’s not so good for Brits, it’s great for Americans, who will get to travel on the (relatively) cheap side – especially compared to how much they’d be paying without a Brexit.
However, if said Americans are hoping to hop on a budget flight from the U.K. to anywhere else in Europe, they’re in for a price hike: A representative from EasyJet, a budget airline operating in Europe, said that having the EU operate within a single aviation zone, which lets any EU-based company fly anywhere within the union’s member states, helped keep prices low.
2. The American economy will take a hit – and it already is
The financial impact isn’t as deep as it is for those in the U.K., but the United States is by no means “untouched” by the U.K.’s vote. Americans woke up to see the markets dropping: The Dow Jones has sunk by more than 2 percent, and NASDAQ by more than three.
Americans who own any U.K.-based stocks will also feel the effects, as those have been dropping even further (and will only continue to do so).
However, there are some “perks” that Brexit will bring to Americans: The Washington Post reports it will influence American interest rates, giving us really, really low mortgage rates for the foreseeable future.
Brexit won’t only be lowering value though – when it comes to the American real estate market, it could lead to higher prices, Edward Mermelstein, a New York real estate attorney, told the International Business Times. Foreign real estate investors who would have bought property in London could choose to take their money elsewhere – like the United States – which would inevitably drive up prices.
3. Hopping into Scotland from England may get harder
That is, if Scotland chooses to hold another independence referendum – and votes to leave the U.K. The country voted to remain a part of the U.K. in 2014, but the U.K.’s vote on its place in the EU undoubtedly has a lot of Scotspeople rethinking that decision: Every single voting district in Scotland voted to remain in the EU.
On Friday, Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said it’s highly likely that there will be another referendum.
“As things stand, Scotland faced the prospect of being taken out of the EU against her will,” she said. “I regard that as democratically unacceptable.”
If Scotland (and potentially Northern Ireland, who also unanimously voted to remain) decides to leave the U.K. in a new referendum, that means American travelers going across the Scottish border will potentially have to go through customs. Not a huge deal for said travelers, but inconvenient, nonetheless.
4. The U.K. could get its first American-born Prime Minister
Now that David Cameron has announced he’s stepping down from the Prime Minister post, the Conservative party will be on the hunt for someone to replace him. An obvious choice? Boris Johnson, the former mayor of London and one of the most vocal (and high-profile) supporters of the Brexit – despite the fact that he and Cameron are members of the same party.
If Johnson was appointed to the top job, then he would make history as the country’s first-ever American-born Prime Minister (he was born in New York City). In fact, up until last year, Johnson was an American citizen. He renounced his citizenship last year, when he was hit with a hefty tax bill after selling a house in London for £730,000 – American law requires citizens to pay capital-gains tax on any transactions overseas.
So he won’t be the first-ever American citizen to be a British Prime Minister, but he’ll be the first one who’s ever been an American citizen. And that counts for something!
5. But never fear – the royal family will reign on
Brexit may be changing a lot, but the royal family won’t be affected. Though the Queen is undoubtedly “saddened,” Ingrid Seward, editor-in-chief of Majesty magazine, tells PEOPLE that the royal family will continue to be a sign of stability in an evolving U.K.
“In these unchartered waters, they are the continuity and stability that the British people may be lacking,” Seward says. “People will look to them perhaps more than they would have done had it gone the other way. They may be needed more.”
So don’t worry, royal-loving Americans – those Prince George and Princess Charlotte photos will keep on coming.