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29 June 2016

An overwhelming 73 percent of UK voters aged 18 to 24 wanted to remain in the EU, while the majority of voters over 45 wanted to leave. Photo: Kevin Coombs / Reuters

Beyond Brexit: Europe’s Populist Backlash Against Immigration and Globalization

Britain’s Brexit vote was a victory of the old over the young, of the less educated over the educated, of nationalism over internationalism, writes Owen Matthews for Newsweek. No wonder the presumed U.S. Republican presidential nominee, Donald Trump—who happened to be visiting one of his golf courses in Scotland when the result was announced on June 24—was delighted.

Polls show that both Brexit voters and Trump’s grassroots supporters are motivated by a similar mix of fear and fantasy: a yearning to control immigration, reverse globalization and restore national greatness by disengaging from the wide, threatening world. “People want to take their country back,” said Trump as news of the vote broke. “They want to have independence…all over Europe, they want to take their borders back.”

Trump is right: the Brexit vote is just the latest and clearest manifestation of the populism and nativism that’s uniting the have-nots of Europe and America against the political establishment. The first victim of this political primal scream from the disenfranchised is likely to be the United Kingdom itself.

In the wake of the Brexit vote, Scotland’s first minister, Nicola Sturgeon, announced that a new referendum on independence was “highly likely” after Scottish voters resoundingly backed remaining in Europe. Sturgeon said she would not stand for Scotland “being taken out of the EU against its will.” Northern Ireland’s deputy first minister, Martin McGuinness, called for a vote on reuniting with the Republic of Ireland, calling it “the next logical step…for all of us who believe in the EU and want to remain part of Europe.”

Read on

Syrian refugees reach Hungary by following a Serbian rail track. Photo: András Hajdú / IRIN

What Does Brexit Mean for Refugees?

Britain has remained largely sealed off from the refugee crisis that has rocked much of the rest of Europe for the past year. Protected by geography and its status outside the passport-free Schengen zone, it took in only a fraction of the asylum seekers who arrived at Europe’s southern shores last year, writes Kristy Siegfried for IRIN.

This reality has not prevented widely-televised images of migrants and refugees streaming through the Balkans from taking root in the public imagination and becoming associated with “uncontrolled” immigration to the UK – one of the biggest issues in the run-up to Thursday’s EU referendum.

It was no coincidence that UK Independence Party (UKIP) leader Nigel Farage appropriated an October 2015 photograph of hundreds of refugees crossing the Croatia-Slovenia border for a Vote Leave campaign poster emblazoned with the words: “Breaking Point”.

But now that Britain has voted to exit the EU, what are the ramifications for refugees and asylum seekers?

Read on

Migration in the News

  • AP reported that a new rebel group has formed in South Sudan’s northwest after a peace deal was signed to end the country’s deadly civil war. It noted that relief agencies, including IOM, are providing emergency assistance to displaced people in Wau.

  • Bangladesh’s  Daily Star reported that the country fared poorly in The Economist Intelligence Unit’s Migration Governance Index 2016 commissioned by IOM.

  • The Diplomat reported that Indonesia’s borders are being tested by threats including Chinese territorial aspirations in the South China Sea,  the Zika virus and the arrival of more Sri Lankan Tamil refugees trying to reach Australia.

  • The City Paper reported on a new money transfer service that will make it easier for Colombians living in the US to send money home to relatives in Colombia.

Trending on the Internet

  • The Independent reported that drones equipped with thermal imaging cameras are being deployed on the French side of the Channel Tunnel to track migrants and refugees attempting to cross to the UK.

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