'There is no point beating about the bush: today is a watershed for Europe'

On Thursday, the Brits voted for the United Kingdom to leave the European Union.

It is the first time a country has decided to leave the union since its creation in 1993. News of the exit has been destroying the global markets and the pound dropped to its lowest level in over 30 years.

While the shock and tremor of the exit is still reverberating around the globe, politicians have started to react to what Eurasia President Ian Bremmer tweeted is “the most significant political risk the world has experienced since the Cuban Missile Crisis.”

German Chancellor Angela Merkel:

“There is no point beating about the bush: today is a watershed for Europe, it is a watershed for the European unification process.” The Chancellor’s response was pragmatic, saying that the decision of the majority of British voters had to be recognised, and announcing she had invited French President François Hollande, Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi, and European Council President Donald Tusk to Berlin on Monday to discuss how to secure European unity.

French President François Hollande:

The French President’s outlook was pretty bleak, in a televised address, he said that the Brexit vote seriously challenged the EU. “The British vote is a tough test for Europe… It was a painful choice and I deeply regret it for the United Kingdom and for Europe.” He added that bloc had to focus on issues of security and defence, border protection, and job creation.

Russian President Vladimir Putin:

Vladimir Putin said that the vote showed Britons’ unhappiness with migration as well as their security worries and dissatisfaction with EU bureaucracy.

He said the vote would have both positive and negative consequences for the world and Russia and denied that his country had influenced the Leave vote, rejecting British Prime Minister David Cameron’s remarks, according to Reuters.

Italian Prime Minister, Matteo Renzi:

For the Italian Prime Minister, the Brexit vote shows that the EU needs to change. “We have to change it to make it more human and more just, but Europe is our home, it’s our future,” Renzi said in a tweet.

Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon:

Sturgeon said that “Scotland has delivered a strong, unequivocal vote to remain in the EU,” and that her party would start to prepare legislation for a new Scottish independence referendum as she did not want Scotland to have to spend time outside of the EU.

This means a second Scottish referendum is likely to happen within the next two years.

Spain acting Foreign Minister Jose Manuel Garcia-Margallo:

Spain, which itself is facing an election on Sunday, will aim for bilateral talks to seek co-sovereignty of Gibraltar, Garcia-Margallo said.

The 30,000 inhabitants of Gibraltar voted overwhelmingly in favour of Britain remaining in the EU. “I hope the formula of co-sovereignty – to be clear, the Spanish flag on the Rock – is much closer than before,” he said.

Top EU officials:

The heads of the EU, EU Council President Donald Tusk, EU Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker, and President of the European Parliament, Martin Schulz, said in a joint statement that they expect the UK to start the process of leaving the union as soon as possible, “however painful that process may be. Any delay would unnecessarily prolong uncertainty.”They also promised a united response to the tough challenge and said they expected to continue working closely with the UK.

They also promised a united response to the tough challenge and said they expected to continue working closely with the UK.
United States President, Barack Obama:

Barack Obama said he respected Britain’s vote to leave the EU, and that the United States’ relationship with Britain would endure. “The United Kingdom and the European Union will remain indispensable partners of the United States even as they begin negotiating their ongoing relationship,” Reuters reports.
This is a developing story, we will update the article as more information comes in. Please refresh the page for the latest updates.

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