As UK voters just overturned 40 years of British membership of the EU, the world is shocked to say the least. The “Leave” campaign won by 52 percent to 48 percent, which was an unexpected outcome that highlights the shift in power towards the anti-elite and nationalist sentiment at a time of economic and cultural upheaval. Due to the decision, the Financial Time Stock Exchange (FTSE 100) plunged more than 8 per cent in its biggest opening slump since the financial crisis, wiping a staggering £120 billion off the value of the 100 biggest UK companies, after the UK voted to leave the EU. The losses were almost as severe as those incurred during the financial crisis of 2008, speaking volumes of the hard times the British economy is likely to face in the next couple of years at least.

On the economic front, the Brexit could mean UK exporters paying new EU import tariffs and facing non-tariff barriers, in the same way that China and the US trade with the EU. UK services that account for 80% of the UK economy, would lose their preferential access to the EU single market. The upside however is that the UK’s current contribution of about £8.5bn per year to the EU for continuing its membership, will now be put to better use at home. The hardest hit would be the UK farmers that will no longer get direct payments from the EU, which were worth about £2.4bn in 2015. The situation of the future remains unclear for now and depends heavily on the agreement between the UK and the EU, once the process of exit formally begins.

As for the status of the nearly 2.2 million EU workers living in the UK, the government will have to clarify their status eventually. Campaigners for leave voted mostly to reduce immigration from the EU, and many jobseekers from the EU may be expected to leave. Any block on freedom of movement is unlikely for at least two years; while the UK is negotiating Brexit as nearly two million UK nationals also live abroad in EU countries.

It is unclear how soon Britain will start the exiting process and what consequences will it bring with it. Regardless of everything, a historic decision has been made and surely it will redefine the nation’s place in the world. Britain will become the first country to leave the 28-member bloc, which has had its share of crises from the financial collapse of 2008 to a resurgent Russia and the huge influx of migrants last year. Maybe Britain will do just fine and establish a new world order and this could be the beginning of the unravelling of the EU as a whole. Only time will tell.