Europe News

World leaders send their condolences... and congratulations to UK

Jessica Hartogs, Special to
Britain's Prime Minister David Cameron speaks after Britain voted to leave the European Union, outside Number 10 Downing Street in London, Britain June 24, 2016.
Stefan Wermuth | Reuters

It's not only markets that are in complete turmoil to the U.K 's decision to leave the European Union.

Stunned reaction to 'Brexit,' as well as to David Cameron's shock announcement that he will resign as the country's prime minister, is pouring in from across the globe.

This piece will be updated throughout the day.

World leaders' reactions:

- U.S. President Barack Obama: "The people of the United Kingdom have spoken, and we respect their decision. The special relationship between the United States and the United Kingdom is enduring, and the United Kingdom's membership in NATO remains a vital cornerstone of U.S. foreign, security, and economic policy. So too is our relationship with the European Union, which has done so much to promote stability, stimulate economic growth, and foster the spread of democratic values and ideals across the continent and beyond. The United Kingdom and the European Union will remain indispensable partners of the United States even as they begin negotiating their ongoing relationship to ensure continued stability, security, and prosperity for Europe, Great Britain and Northern Ireland, and the world."

- U.S. Democratic Presidential candidate Hillary Clinton: "Our first task has to be to make sure that the economic uncertainty created by these events does not hurt working families here in America. We also have to make clear America's steadfast commitment to the special relationship with Britain and the transatlantic alliance with Europe."

- Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau: "The UK and the EU are important strategic partners for Canada with whom we enjoy deep historical ties and common values. We will continue to build relations with both parties as they forge a new relationship."

- International Monetary Fund's Christine Lagarde: "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."

- G-7 (U.S., Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, and the U.K.) ministers: "We, G-7 Ministers and Governors, respect the intention expressed today by the people of the United Kingdom to exit from the European Union. We are monitoring market developments following the outcome of the referendum."

- U.S. Speaker of the House of Representatives Paul Ryan: "I respect the decision made by the people of the United Kingdom. The UK is an indispensable ally of the United States, and that special relationship is unaffected by this vote."

- German Chancellor Angela Merkel: "Deeply regrets the UK's decision to leave the European Union." Merkel added that Germany has a "special interest and special responsibility" in European unity succeeding, and thus has invited the EU's Donald Tusk, France's Francois Hollande and Italy's Matteo Renzi to Berlin on Monday.

- French president Francois Hollande: The Brexit vote is a "painful choice. And I regret it deeply, for the UK and for Europe. But that's their choice, and we must respect it."

- A joint statement released by the President of the European Council Donald Tusk, President of the European Parliament Martin Schulz, holder of the rotating Presidency of the Council of the EU Mark Rutte, and Jean-Claude Juncker, President of the European Commission stated: "In a free and democratic process, the British people have expressed their wish to leave the European Union. We regret this decision but respect it. This is an unprecedented situation but we are united in our response. We will stand strong and uphold the EU's core values of promoting peace and the well-being of its peoples."

- Former U.K. prime minister Tony Blair: "I'm very sad, I'm very sad for our country, for Europe, for the world, actually, because it's got vast implications economically and politically, in terms of our security also I think. What is really important now is that we do everything we can to stabilize the situation in our country... The Prime Minister has got a huge task now in trying to bring people together, because the most important thing is that we minimize the bad consequences... This is a very, very sad day."

- Sinn Fein's Martin McGuinness called for a referendum on a united Ireland on national Irish broadcaster RTE: "We are now in unchartered waters, nobody really knows what is going to happen. The implications for all of us on the island of Ireland are absolutely massive. This could have very profound implications for our economy."

- Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull: "The impact on Australia immediately, directly, from a legal point of view, will be very limited because it will take some years for the United Kingdom to leave the European Union, to negotiate an exit. However, we've seen already large falls on stock markets and there will be a degree of uncertainty for some time."

And congratulations to the U.K.:

- U.S. Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump, who is currently in Scotland, tweeted: "Just arrived in Scotland. Place is going wild over the vote. They took their country back, just like we will take America back. No games!"

- Geert Wilders, leader of the Dutch Independence party, tweeted: "Hurrah for the British! Now it is our turn. Time for a Dutch referendum! #ByeByeEU"

- Marine Le Pen, leader of the far-right Front National movement in France: "Victory for freedom! As I have been asking for years, now we need to have the same referendum in France and in the countries of the EU."

- Mateo Salvini, leader of Italy's anti-immigration Northern League: "Hurrah for the courage of free citizens! Heart, brain and pride defeated lies, threats and blackmail. THANK YOU UK, now it's our turn."

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