Obama Cautions Against 'Hysteria' Over Brexit Vote "I think that the best way to think about this is a pause button has been pressed on the project of full European integration," President Obama told NPR's Steve Inskeep.
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Obama Cautions Against 'Hysteria' Over Brexit Vote

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Obama Cautions Against 'Hysteria' Over Brexit Vote

Obama Cautions Against 'Hysteria' Over Brexit Vote

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DAVID GREENE, HOST:

President Obama is downplaying concerns about the future of the United Kingdom. A vote to leave the European Union drove down global markets and also the British pound. The president himself had warned against Brexit. But in a chat with my colleague, Steve Inskeep, the president discussed its consequences by essentially paraphrasing that old British slogan, keep calm and carry on.

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STEVE INSKEEP, BYLINE: Is there a danger that Europe, after this Brexit vote, will turn inward, focus increasingly on its own problems and its own turmoil and be less active in the world?

PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA: Well, I think that the best way to think about this is a pause button has been pressed on the project of full European integration. I would not overstate it. There's been a little bit of hysteria post-Brexit vote, as if somehow NATO's gone and the trans-Atlantic alliance is dissolving and every country's rushing off to its own corner. And that's not what's happening.

GREENE: The president sees a country and a continent that still share interests with one another and with the United States.

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OBAMA: And so I don't anticipate that there's going to be major, cataclysmic changes as a consequence of this. Keep in mind that Norway is not a member of the European Union, but Norway is one of our closest allies. They align themselves on almost every issue within Europe and us. They are a place that is continually supporting the kinds of initiatives internationally that we support. And if, over the course of what is going to be at least a two-year negotiation between England and Europe, Great Britain ends up being affiliated to Europe like Norway is, the average person is not going to notice a big change.

GREENE: Now, when Steve asked about Donald Trump's claim of parallels between the Brexit vote and voter sentiment in this country, President Obama mentioned Donald Trump's comments about global elites.

OBAMA: Mr. Trump embodies global elites and has taken full advantage of it his entire life. And so he's hardly a spokesperson for - a legitimate spokesperson for a populist surge from working-class people on either side of the Atlantic.

GREENE: That is President Obama in an interview with our colleague, Steve Inskeep.

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