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UK Top News

Factbox - European leaders in shock, EU to look inward, as Britain votes to go

LONDON (Reuters) - Following are reactions from world leaders and politicians on Friday to Britain’s referendum vote to leave the European Union:

-- EU LEADERS --

EUROPEAN COUNCIL PRESIDENT DONALD TUSK

“We are determined to keep our unity as 27 ... I will propose that we start a period of wider reflection on the future of our union.”

BRITISH PRIME MINISTER DAVID CAMERON, WHO CAMPAIGNED TO KEEP BRITAIN IN

“I do not think it would be right for me to try to be the captain that steers our country to its next destination ... it is in the national interest to have a period of stability and then the new leadership required.”

GERMAN FOREIGN MINISTER FRANK-WALTER STEINMEIER

“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”.

“Europe will continue but it must react and rediscover the confidence of its peoples. It’s urgent.”

JEROEN DIJSSELBLOEM, DUTCH CHAIRMAN OF THE COUNCIL OF EURO ZONE FINANCE MINISTERS

“The worst thing we could do is allow more instability into the EU,” he said. “Alas, the British have chosen that, and we must make another choice ... Simply deepening or enlarging the European Union is not the way forward.”

GERMAN FINANCE MINISTER WOLFGANG SCHAEUBLE

“I had hoped for a different result. Now we must look forward and deal with this situation ...

“The EU process for an exit from the European Union is clearly defined and will be applied. Europe will stand together now.”

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”.

HUNGARIAN PRIME MINISTER VIKTOR ORBAN:

“Brussels must hear the voice of the people, this is the biggest lesson from this decision ...

“Europe is strong only if it can give answers to major issues such as immigration that would strengthen Europe itself and not weaken it. The EU has failed to give these answers.”

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. And it happened because this concept, which was created some time ago, is no longer popular in Europe.”

ITALIAN PRIME MINISTER MATTEO RENZI

“We have to change (the EU) to make it more human and more just, but Europe is our home, it’s our future.”

ACTING SPANISH PRIME MINISTER MARIANO RAJOY

“In little more than half a century, Europeans have built the greatest space for peace, freedom and prosperity in all of humanity’s history. And, despite the serious setbacks like the one we face today, nobody should doubt that we are going to continue working to build tomorrow.”

SWEDISH EU MINISTER ANN LINDE

“We must show people why we believe the EU is important, why we need to remain. We have to look at the things that matter in people’s everyday lives, perhaps where there have been ambiguities, where there’s been arrogance and where people have felt it’s been an elite project ... It is a very serious situation for Great Britain, but also for the EU.”

MANFRED WEBER, WHO REPRESENTS GERMAN CHANCELLOR ANGELA MERKEL’S POLITICAL GROUP IN THE EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT

“(The decision) ... causes major damage to both sides, but in first line to the UK ... There cannot be any special treatment for the United Kingdom ... ‘Leave’ means ‘leave’. The times of cherry-picking are over.”

GIANNI PITTELLA, LEADER OF THE SOCIALISTS AND DEMOCRATS IN THE EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT

“It is sad but it is not the funeral of the European Union.”

EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT PRESIDENT MARTIN SCHULZ

“I expect that the negotiations on the exit will now begin quickly.”

FINANCE MINISTER PETER KAZIMIR OF SLOVAKIA, NEXT HOLDER OF ROTATING EU PRESIDENCY

“Today is a new beginning and it’s up to us to make the best out of it, for all Europeans.”

A BRITISH OFFICIAL WORKING AT THE EUROPEAN COMMISSION:

“It’s the Brussels bubble who is shocked. There were signs. Nothing has changed, it’s going to take some time before we know what will happen.”

-- EUROSCEPTICS --

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.”

NIGEL FARAGE, LEADER OF THE BRITISH ANTI-EU PARTY UKIP

“The EU is failing, the EU is dying.”

EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT MEMBER BEATRIX VON STORCH OF THE EUROSCEPTIC GERMAN AFD PARTY

“The European Union has failed as a political union.”

DUTCH ANTI-IMMIGRATION LEADER GEERT WILDERS

“We want be in charge of our own country, our own money, our own borders, and our own immigration policy ... As quickly as possible, the Dutch need to get the opportunity to have their say about Dutch membership of the European Union.”

-- FUTURE OF UNITED KINGDOM --

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.”

MARTIN MCGUINNESS, NATIONALIST DEPUTY FIRST MINISTER OF NORTHERN IRELAND

“The British government now has no democratic mandate to represent the views of the North in any future negotiations with the European Union and I do believe that there is a democratic imperative for a ‘border poll’ to be held.”

ARLENE FOSTER, PRO-BRITISH FIRST MINISTER OF NORTHERN IRELAND

“There is no way even, if there was a border poll, that it would be in favour of a united Ireland.”

ACTING SPANISH FOREIGN MINISTER JOSE MANUEL GARCIA-MARGALLO

“It’s a complete change of outlook that opens up new possibilities on Gibraltar not seen for a very long time. I hope the formula of co-sovereignty - to be clear, the Spanish flag on the Rock - is much closer than before.”

Compliled by Kevin Liffey

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