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Fears of contagion in Europe after UK Brexit vote

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Fears of contagion in Europe after UK Brexit vote

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Westminster in London is set to take back control – a phrase which was a rallying cry of the campaign to leave the European Union.

What is seen as a shock decision by the voters has triggered fears that Europe could be enveloped by a “tsunami” of referendums across the continent as anti-EU parties look to capitalise on the vote in the UK. One anti EU campaigner smells contagion in the air.

“An opinion poll in the Netherlands said the majority there now want to leave so we may well be close perhaps to Nexit. And similarly in Denmark. And I am told the same may apply to Sweden and perhaps to Austria and perhaps even to Italy too. The EU is failing, the EU is dying,” opined Nigel Farage.

Although the Netherlands is a founder EU member and currently holds the EU presidency a recent poll showed 48 percent would vote to leave.

Geert Wilders, head of the Party for Freedom – the PVV – will campaign for a referendum in the country’s elections next year.

“I believe that the offspring will be that other countries like my own country, the Netherlands, where the majority of the people want the ‘Nexit’ or at least a referendum about a possible ‘Nexit’ as well, that will come as well. I’m trying to achieve the same in the Netherlands next year,” he said.

Austria’s far-Right Freedom Party only just missed out on winning the presidency earlier this year but is favourite to take power in the Austrian elections in 2018.

Forty percent in a recent poll in that country backed the idea of a referendum with the slim majority of 53 percent saying they would vote to stay.

Marine Le Pen the leader of France’s far-Right Front National said in a tweet minutes after the result of the UK vote, “Victory for Freedom”. She has ambitions to run for the French presidency next year.

“I promise to lead my country France on the path to freedom, which is also the only one to greatness. Long live the free nations, long live the UK and long live France,” she said.

With such anti-EU sentiment seeming to gain traction in other countries one analyst believes European governments must make things difficult for the UK.

“A lot will depend on what happens to the UK. You don’t want to make it look too attractive in the outside world. I think the Boris Johnson approach that “I’m pro cake and pro eating it” is just not going to fly, European leaders are going to say – well you have a choice, it’s a binary choice, and that’s that,” explained Ian Bond, Director of Foreign Policy, Centre for European Reform.

In Denmark which has in the past voted against the EU in three referendums including one on whether to join the Euro, there have been calls for an in/out ballot.

But Danish Prime Minister Lars Lokke Rasmussen has ruled out any such vote.

There were muted calls for a referendum in Sweden. But the mainstream political parties there are still in favour of remaining part of the bloc.

Every story can be told in many ways: see the perspectives from Euronews journalists in our other language teams.

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