World Economy

World Leaders Respond to UK Vote to Leave EU

World Leaders Respond to UK Vote to Leave EUWorld Leaders Respond to UK Vote to Leave EU

Everyone was stunned—including United Kingdom Independence Party leader Nigel Farage, who was the main driving force behind the pro-Brexit movement. He made the shockingly tasteless remark that the “Leave” campaign won the vote “without a single bullet being fired. The EU is failing, the EU is dying.”

US politicians also weighed in on the historic vote, including President Barack Obama. “The people of the United Kingdom have spoken, and we respect their decision,” the president wrote in a short statement Friday morning, assuring that the “special relationship” between the US and the UK would still remain intact.

Russian President Vladimir Putin said: “A statement by the Prime Minister of Great Britain David Cameron before... the referendum, in which he voiced the position of Russia (that Moscow would benefit from Brexit) has no basis. I think this is nothing more than a flawed attempt to influence public opinion in his own country.

“As we can see, even this did not bring the right result for those who did it, and moreover after the vote no-one has the right to make statements about some position of Russia. This is nothing more than a demonstration of the low level of political culture.”

A joint statement by European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker, European Council President Donald Tusk, European Parliament President Martin Schulz, and Dutch PM Mark Rutte: “We now expect the United Kingdom government to give effect to this decision of the British people as soon as possible, however painful that process may be. Any delay would unnecessarily prolong uncertainty. “We hope to have the UK as a close partner of the EU also in the future.”

German Chancellor Angela Merkel said: “We take note of the British people’s decision with regret. There is no doubt that this is a blow to Europe and to the European unification process.” She said that because of its history, Germany has “a particular interest and a particular responsibility” to make European unity a success.

French Prime Minister Manuel Valls said: “It’s an explosive shock. At stake is the break-up pure and simple of the union. Now is the time to invent another Europe.”

Edward Snowden, the famous whistleblower, tweeted, “No matter the outcome, Brexit polls demonstrate how quickly half of any population can be convinced to vote against itself. Quite a lesson.”

Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban said in an interview on MR1-Kossuth radio that “The key message of the result of the UK vote is that Brussels must hear the voice of the people.”

The British government has a “democratic imperative” to call a referendum on whether Northern Ireland should leave the United Kingdom and unite with the Irish Republic, Sinn Fein’s Martin McGuinness told national Irish broadcaster RTE.

German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier said: “The news from Britain is really sobering. It looks like a sad day for Europe and Britain.”

French Foreign Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault said he was “sad for the United Kingdom”.

Norwegian Prime Minister Erna Solberg called the vote a “signal from both the British voters and many other voters around Europe who feel that the EU is not providing good enough answers to today’s challenges”.

Polish Foreign Minister Witold Waszczykowski: “This is bad news for Europe, for Poland ... We will be trying to use this situation to make the European politicians aware why this happened.”

Marine Le Pen, Head of French Far-Right National Front Party: “Victory for freedom! We now need to hold the same referendum in France and in (other) EU countries.”

First Minister of Scotland Nicola Sturgeon: “Scotland has delivered a strong, unequivocal vote to remain in the EU, and I welcome that endorsement of our European status.”

Former Finnish prime minister Alexander Stubb called Britain’s vote to leave the European Union a “bad nightmare” as Europe’s leaders woke to a shock result that will rock the 28-nation bloc.