EU referendum: World reacts as Donald Tusk calls for quick action, populist parties call for referendums and EU leaders express remorse

James Nickerson
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Britain Reacts To The EU Referendum Result
Many EU leaders hope a constructive relationship can be formed (Source: Getty)

Political leaders across the globe have responded to the UK's referendum outcome with a mix of joy, commiseration and pragmatism.

While David Cameron is to stand down as Prime Minister, Nicola Sturgeon and the Scottish National Party want to call a referendum, as do Sinn Fein leaders, while Michael Gove has hailed Cameron's premiership.

Outside of the UK, European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker, European Council President Donald Tusk, European Parliament President Martin Schulz, and Dutch PM Mark Rutte, said: "We now expect the United Kingdom government to give effect to this decision of the British people as soon as possible, however painful that process may be. Any delay would unnecessarily prolong uncertainty.

"We hope to have the UK as a close partner of the EU also in the future."

Tusk added that the UK must stand together, while, German Chancellor Angela Merkel said: "We take note of the British people's decision with regret. There is no doubt that this is a blow to Europe and to the European unification process."

Read more: Sterling suffers historic crash as Brits back Brexit

In a similar vein, French Prime Minister Manuel Valls said that the vote is "an explosive shock. At stake is the break-up pure and simple of the union. Now is the time to invent another Europe."

Other leaders agreed, but urged a more determined effort to reform the EU.

Even French President Francois Hollande said: "The British vote poses a grave test for Europe, which must show solidity and strength in its response to the economic and financial risks."

He added via Twitter: "A quantum leap is necessary. To go forward, Europe can no longer do as before."

Greece, Sweden, the Netherlands, Marine le Pen... and Trump

Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras said: "Brexit will be either a wake-up call or the beginning of a dangerous path for European people. We respect the decision of British people, which confirms the deep political and identity crisis of the EU.

"The extreme choices of austerity that widened the inequality between countries of the north and south, fences and closed borders and the denial to share the burden of the debt and migrant crises had signalled an extended crisis in Europe."

Read more: Angela Merkel - Europe will stand together

Stefan Lofven, Prime Minister of Sweden, also urged a renewed debate: "The debate and campaigning in the run-up to the referendum should serve as a wake-up call for Europe. They elicited stark polarisation and disturbing nationalism. This shows that EU cooperation must be developed and improved."

And Geert Wilders, Dutch Freedom Party leader called for a Dutch vote: "Hurrah for the British! Now it is our turn. Time for a Dutch referendum!"

As did National Front leader Marine Le Pen, who congratulated Nigel Farage in a press conference, after Tweeting: "Victory of freedom! As I have asked for years, it is now necessary that referendum's take place in France and the countries of the EU."

A representative of anti-immigration Sweden Democrats Adam Martinnen wrote on Twitter: "A day of joy for Democrats in Europe. Now we get an example of a supranational union is necessary for any Member State! #swexit next!"

Donald Trump, for his part, was more optimistic. He said it was a "great thing" that the people of the UK have "taken back their country".

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