In a surprising move, Britain has voted in favor of Brexit, meaning that it will leave the European Union. After much back and forth over mostly the economy and immigration, U.K. citizens apparently decided that staying in the EU wasn't the best choice for the country. But when exactly will Britain leave the European Union? No full member nation has ever left before, so this is an entirely new situation they're facing.
According to The New York Times, there's no chance of this happening instantly. Now that the citizens have spoken, Parliament is tasked with invoking Article 50, which sets out the withdrawal of a member state — including a two-year deadline. Prime Minister David Cameron has promised to invoke Article 50 quickly — this means that the U.K. could be out of the EU within two years.
The United Kingdom has been a part of the European Union (and what it was referred to previously) since 1973. According to CNN, European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker said that the EU has been in negotiations with Cameron over what would happen, and he issued a serious warning if the country left.
We have concluded the deal with the prime minister; he got the maximum he could receive, and we gave the maximum we could give so there will be no kind of renegotiation. Out is out.
It's unclear what will happen now. Although there's a specific procedure that will have to take place, this unprecedented decision will have huge effects on the entire world. Global markets are already crashing, the value of a pound has sunk significantly, people are calling for Cameron's resignation, and millions of citizens are now stuck in the middle of a confusing and tense situation.
Even if the U.K. takes two years or more to invoke Article 50 and put the withdrawal process into place, this decision will have serious consequences that will last for decades to come.