WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. President Barack Obama warned against financial and global hysteria after Britain’s vote to leave the European Union, saying that while full European integration may be on pause, cataclysmic changes are unlikely, according to an interview that aired on Tuesday.
“There’s been a little bit of hysteria post-Brexit vote, as if somehow NATO’s gone, the trans-Atlantic alliance is dissolving, and every country is rushing off to its own corner. That’s not what’s happening,” Obama told National Public Radio.
Obama’s comments come as global financial markets recovered slightly on Tuesday after the shock result of Thursday’s vote wiped a record $3 trillion off shares worldwide. Still, trading was volatile even as policymakers vowed to protect their economies.
The vote also unleashed political chaos, prompting the resignation of Britain’s prime minister, igniting uncertainty about the rest Europe, and raising concerns about democratic order in an era of globalization and rising populism.
U.S. officials have said the American economy is strong enough to withstand the “headwinds” following Brexit and vowed to maintain its relationships with the United Kingdom and Europe.
Obama, who has said he respected the British voters’ decision even though he had opposed the move, in the interview on Tuesday said the vote has signaled that UK voters were reacting to a European Union that was growing too fast and “without as much consensus as it should have.”
“The best way to think about this is, a pause button has been pressed on the project of full European integration,” he told NPR.
“This will be a moment when all of Europe says, ‘Let’s take a breath and let’s figure out how do we maintain some of our national identities, how do we preserve the benefits of integration and how do we deal with some of the frustrations that our own voters are feeling,’” Obama said.
Reporting by Susan Heavey; Editing by Chizu Nomiyama