London, June 24 (IANS) International reactions poured in on Friday for the dramatic decision by British voters to leave the European Union (EU) in Thursday’s historic referendum.
“We respect the result. Now is the time for us to behave seriously and responsibly. (Prime Minister) David Cameron has his responsibilities for his country, we have our responsibilities for the future of the EU. You can see what is happening to sterling on the markets. I don’t want the same thing to happen to the euro,” European Parliament President Martin Schulz said early Friday morning after the results were announced.
Dutch Freedom Party leader Geert Wilders hailed the decision and said that it was the time for a referendum in the Netherlands.
“Hurrah for the British! Now it is our turn. Time for a Dutch referendum!” he tweeted
Marine Le Pen, the leader of France’s far-right Front National party, has welcomed the result. She said she also wants a similar referendum in France.
“From #Brexit to #Frexit: It’s now time to import democracy to our country. The French must have the right to choose!” she leader tweeted.
Manfred Weber, leader of the largest group in the European Parliament, the EPP, said: “Exit negotiations should be concluded within 2 years at max. There cannot be any special treatment. Leave means leave.”
German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier deemed it as a sad day for Britain and for the EU.
The head of Germany’s Foreign Trade Association, Anton Boerner, said: “That is a catastrophic result for Britain and also for Europe and Germany, especially the German economy. It is disturbing that the oldest democracy in the world turns its back on us.”
Gerard Araud, the French ambassador in Washington, tweeted: “Now to the other member states to save the EU from unravelling which excludes business as usual, especially in Brussels. Reform or die!”
The ‘Leave’ campaign won by 52 per cent to 48 per cent with England and Wales voting strongly for Brexit, while London, Scotland and Northern Ireland backed staying in the EU.
The referendum was held all across the country on Thursday. The turnout was 71.8 per cent – with more than 30 million people voting.