Leading European figures have already responded to the UK’s decision to leave the EU, admitting they are deeply saddened by the result.
A crisis meeting was held in Brussels between the President of the European Council, Donald Tusk, the President of the European Commission, Jean-Claude Juncker, and Martin Schulz, the President of the Parliament, as well as Mark Rutte, the Dutch Prime Minister who chairs the rotating presidency.
Donald Tusk warned attempted to calm the environment of panic and shock across Europe, saying “it is not a moment for hysterical reactions.” He also said: “What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger.”
In a press conference, Donald Tusk said “on behalf of the 27 leaders, I can say that we are determined to keep our unity as 27. For all of us, the union is the framework for our common future”.
This echoes the statements made earlier by EU Parliament President, Martin Schulz, who said that he “deeply regretted the UK decision to leave the EU”.
Schulz added that he believed when David Cameron speaks at a special session of the European Parliament on Tuesday, negotiations over Britain’s departure would begin quickly: “The United Kingdom has decided to go its own way. I think the economic data show this morning that it will be a very difficult way,” Schulz said.
Following the UK’s EU membership referendum, the European Parliament’s Conference of Presidents (EP President and political group leaders) decided to convene an extraordinary plenary session on 28th June where MEPs will vote a resolution analysing the outcome and ways forward. EU Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker and Council representatives will take part.
Ms. Christine Lagarde, Managing Director of the International Monetary Fund (IMF), issued the following statement today: “We take note of the decision by the people of the United Kingdom. We urge the authorities in the U.K. and Europe to work collaboratively to ensure a smooth transition to a new economic relationship between the U.K. and the EU, including by clarifying the procedures and broad objectives that will guide the process.
“We strongly support commitments of the Bank of England and the ECB to supply liquidity to the banking system and curtail excess financial volatility. We will continue to monitor developments closely and stand ready to support our members as needed.”
Many national Eurozone politicians, including Chancellor, Angela Merkel, warned that Britain could not expect to cherry pick its relationship with the EU.
Nevertheless, plenty of European Euroskeptics made their thoughts known as well, with Leader of France’s Front National party, Marine Le Pen, claiming: “Like a lot of French people, I’m very happy that the British people held on and made the right choice. What we thought was impossible yesterday has now become possible.”
Likewise, Geert Wilders, the leader of the Dutch Party for Freedom said that the Netherlands should follow Britain’s suit and hold a referendum to leave. Wilders said: “I think it’s historic, I think it could also have huge consequences for the Netherlands and the rest of Europe. Now it’s our turn. I think the Dutch people must now be given the chance to have their say in a referendum.”
— Donald Tusk (@eucopresident) 24 June 2016