European Reaction

E.U. Leaders ‘Sad’ But Ready for Reform

Appeals for calm: EU Council President Donald Tusk arrives at EU Headquarters in Brussels to comment on the Brexit decision.
Appeals for calm: EU Council President Donald Tusk arrives at EU Headquarters in Brussels to comment on the Brexit decision.
  • Why it matters

    Why it matters

    The leaders of the E.U.’s 27 other members will now be key in negotiating the future of the bloc.

  • Facts

    Facts

    • European leaders and foreign ministers called a number of emergency meetings but also appealed for calm and an orderly exit for Britain.
    • There is an acknowledgement central and eastern Europe that voters are unenthusiastic about the E.U. and that reforms are necessary.
    • The complex nature of Britain’s withdrawal is already being highlighted by calls for a number of re-negotiated Britian- E.U. deals.
  • Audio

    Audio

  • Pdf

The warnings issued by E.U. leaders before Britain’s referendum were widely replaced by expressions of solidarity after news broke of the Leave vote this morning. Concerns over trade and freedom of movement turned into calls for calm and acknowledgements that the E.U.’s cumbersome mechanisms must be reformed

“What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger,” Donald Tusk, the president of the European Council, said in his official statement.

His words set the tone for statements by foreign ministers and leaders of other members of the E.U.

Dutch prime minister Mark Rutte said he was “disappointed but not angry” and that he would strive to ensure that the impact of the Brexit on his country was minimized. He added that this was a good time to consider reforms to the E.U, as many other leaders did.

Italy’s foreign minister Paolo Gentiloni called the British decision a “wake up call. It’s a very difficult moment,” he said.

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