Everyone can remain calm because the British vote to exit the European Union won't translate into any "cataclysmic changes," President Barack Obama said in an interview with NPR's Steve Inskeep. Rather, he views the Brexit vote as a "pause button" that has been pressed on the "project of full European integration."
"I would not overstate it," Obama added in the interview released 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."
He views the result as a consequence of a "European project that was probably moving faster and without as much consensus as it should have."
The EU has been riddled with complications since its inception, he said. Namely, its monetary union has been difficult to manage and the EU government, which has also had to work in tandem with national governments, has been criticized for being "overly bureaucratic and deadlocked."
Going forward, Europe now needs to take a breath, he said, and "figure out how to maintain some of our national identities" and "preserve the benefits of integration."
What won't change, he argued, are "the basic core values of Europe, the tenets of liberal, market-based democracies."
He also assured that the United States' ties to Europe will remain strong given shared interests and international concerns.
While Obama's theory may be proved right in the years to come, the short-term repercussions of the referendum cannot be ignored. Hate crimes and racist incidents are picking up at an alarming rate across the U.K. The British pound fell to a 30-year low, sending the stock market into dangerous territory.
Many are also concerned that the nationalistic fervor with which Brexit politicians campaigned will only embolden people who share similar notions -- namely, presumptive Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump. He praised Britain on its decision, furthering bolstering his own campaign platform in explaining that "people are angry." French far-right figure Marine Le Pen is another example; she has demanded that a similar referendum be held in France.