From a Bloomberg View editorial Friday:
Britain’s vote to quit the European Union is a momentous choice – and not in a good way. The immediate risk to Britain’s economy is grave, because the vote creates enormous uncertainty. This is likely to persist for months, until it becomes clear what kind of new trading rules will govern Britain’s economic relationship with Europe and the rest of the world.
It may shake the European Union almost as badly. Britain is only one EU member, but among the biggest and most influential. The first country to leave the union in this fashion, it will now resolve to prove that exit works. If, against the odds, it succeeds, other EU members could be tempted to do the same.
As Britain prepares to leave the EU, it will seek and should quickly be promised access to Europe’s market on friendly terms, akin to those enjoyed by Norway and Switzerland. To be sure, Britain’s former EU partners may be tempted to punish the U.K., and that way set an example for other would-be quitters. They should resist.
To minimize the harm to its own interests, and to stop the next such vote before it happens, Europe needs to change.