June 24, 2016 / 11:16 AM / 3 years ago

Brexit vote marks a watershed moment for Europe: Merkel

German Chancellor Angela Merkel arrives for a statement in Berlin, Germany, June 24, 2016, after Britain voted to leave the European Union in the EU BREXIT referendum. REUTERS/Hannibal Hanschke

BERLIN (Reuters) - Britain’s vote to leave the European Union is deeply regrettable and marks a watershed moment for European integration, German Chancellor Angela Merkel said on Friday.

Merkel told reporters she had invited the leaders of France and Italy as well as the European Council president to Berlin on Monday to discuss how to secure European unity after Britain referendum vote to quit the 28-member bloc.

“We have to recognize the decision of the majority of the British people with deep regret today,” she said. “There is no point beating about the bush: today is a watershed for Europe, it is a watershed for the European unification process.”

Merkel said Germany had a particular interest and responsibility in European unity succeeding.

“I have therefore invited EU Council President Donald Tusk, French President Francois Hollande and Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi to Berlin for talks on Monday.”

Merkel said it was important that all the other 27 EU member states analyzed the situation together in a calm and sober manner and did not rush into any decisions.

Writing by Caroline Copley; Editing by Paul Carrel/Mark Heinrich

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