Reactions to British referendum range from disappointment to glee

Initial reactions to Britain's decision to leave the European Union began pouring in Friday from Europe and the wider world, ranging from concern and disappointment, to glee among eurosceptics.

A majority of 52 per cent of British voters opted for leaving the EU in Thursday's referendum, according to the public broadcaster BBC, putting the country on course to become the first to depart the 28-member bloc.

Japanese Finance Minister Taro Aso said he was "extremely concerned about risks [of a so-called Brexit] to the world economy and global financial markets."

German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier called the referendum outcome "sobering," adding: "This looks to be a sad day for Europe and for Britain."

But Geert Wilders, the head of the Dutch eurosceptic Party for Freedom, congratulated British voters.

"Hurrah for the British! Now it is our turn. Time for a Dutch referendum!" he wrote on Twitter. "We want [to] be in charge of our own country, our own money, our own borders, and our own immigration policy," he added in a statement.

France's Marine Le Pen had a similar take.

The leader of that country's far-right National Front party hailed a "victory of liberty" on Twitter in response to the Brexit and reiterated calls for France and other EU countries to hold similar referendums.

EU lawmaker Manfred Weber of the European People's Party, the largest in the European Parliament, said Britain's decision to leave the EU "causes major damage to both sides," while calling for the decision to be quickly implemented.

"We will end the cherry-picking of the Brits," he said, adding that London would have to play by the EU's rules if the country wants access to the bloc's single market.

Last update: Fri, 24/06/2016 - 08:49
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