The Brexit vote of 23 June 2016 is expected to have a profound impact, not only on Britain itself, but also on the remaining 27 member states of the European Union. This article looks at how the Brexit debate was perceived outside of Britain. Was there a sense of understanding for British concerns or was there rather a focus on maintaining unity in the face of British exceptionalism? Combining insights from European public sphere research and Euroscepticism research, we conduct a qualitative framing analysis of the discourse in leading centre-right newspapers in France, Germany and the Netherlands, as common ground with British Eurosceptics is most likely to be found here. Our analysis shows that initially there was some support for British calls for amending its relationship with the Union, in particular in Germany and the Netherlands. However, as the referendum drew nearer, the discourse shifted towards the need to maintain unity amongst the remaining member states.
- European public sphere