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    Bottles and cans of vodka lemon Grexit are displayed on June 23, 2015 in Hamm, western Germany.

    While Gov't Laments Brexit, Ordinary Greeks See it as 'Justified, Logical'

    © AFP 2019 / Ina Fassbender
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    Last week, Britons voted to leave the EU. Commenting on the implications of the vote for his country, Greek journalist and political commentator Nicholas Stella told Sputnik that while the political elite viewed it with apprehension, ordinary Greeks, weary of Brussels-imposed belt-tightening, saw it as a natural and logical outcome.

    On Thursday, the United Kingdom held a referendum to determine whether or not the country should leave the EU. According to the final results, 51.9% of voters, or 17.4 million people, decided to support Brexit, while about 16.1 million opposed it. Total voter turnout was 72.2%.

    Speaking to Sputnik Turkey, Stella recalled that for his part, Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras was critical of the outcome. On Friday, after the outcome of the vote became clear, the prime minister said that "the sense of a common vision and a common future of European peoples has given way to a return to the alleged safety of national isolationism. But this road is a dead end."

    "With these words," Stella noted, "the prime minister expressed the SYRIZA party's position in relation to the referendum's results; a similar position is shared by many members of the opposition."

    Meanwhile, the analyst added, "there are also two political forces supporting the UK initiative. This is the ultra-nationalists from the Golden Dawn party, which considered the decision of the people of the UK a 'very bold step'. It also includes the country's Communist Party, which has a strong position in the political arena; along with the British Communists, they supported the idea of the Brexit from the beginning. Although an official statement on their party has not been made, sources close to the party leadership, reacting to the referendum's results, said that 'it gives hope for advancement. Workers in Europe have shown us that the EU in its current form could not carry on functioning.'"

    "At the same time," Stella suggested, "the reaction of the Greek people differs significantly from the position of the authorities. The people of Greece are exhausted by the difficult situation in the country – by the policy of austerity. From the point of view of the country's population, Great Britain's desire to leave the EU structure was entirely logical and justified, and even overdue."

    As far as Cyprus is concerned, there the UK's decision was met with disappointment and concern, according to the analyst. "Cyprus and Britain have a special relationship. The island is a former British colony; today the island hosts British military bases. Thousands of Cypriots live in Britain with EU passports, and many Britons live in Cyprus."

    "In this connection," Stella noted, "the referendum caused a sense of uncertainty among Cypriots about the future. Will they and Britons now require residence permits in the UK and Cyprus? What will the status be of thousands of Cypriot students studying in the UK? All these questions remain open. Almost all the political forces in Cyprus reacted to the British referendum with concern."

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