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  1. ITV Report

Europe reacts to UK's vote to leave EU

Britain's majority vote decision to leave the EU has sparked a range of divided responses from key political figures on the continent.

Leaders across Europe have reacted to the UK's historic vote to leave the EU.

European Parliament president Martin Schulz told ITV News he "very much" regretted the UK's decision to leave the EU.

He said that the UK has chosen a difficult path by cutting links with the "biggest single market in the world" and suggested that negotiations should happen quickly.

The United Kingdom since 40 years was wavering to be a fully fledged member or not. Now we have clarity for the United Kingdom to go on their own way.

– European Parliament president Martin Schulz
Donald Tusk said the EU is determined to stay united as 27.

President of the European Council, Donald Tusk said Brexit was an "historic moment" but "not a moment for hysterical reactions".

He said the EU was prepared for the "dramatic scenario" adding: "We are determined to keep our unity as 27."

Other reactions have been coming across Europe following the UK's historic referendum result.

  • Germany
Frank-Walter Steinmeier said the news was sobering. Credit: Reuters

German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier said it marked a "sad day for Europe".

The news from Britain is really sobering. It looks like a sad day for Europe and Britain.

– Frank-Walter Steinmeier
  • France
France's far-right National Front political party leader Marine Le Pen. Credit: Reuters

The leader of the French National Front, Marine Le Pen hailed the result a "Victory!" and called for a 'Frexit'.

"It is now time to import democracy in our country. The French should have the right to choose," she said.

  • Ireland

Britain's vote to leave the European Union has "very significant implications" for Ireland and the EU as a whole, a government statement said.

"The government will meet later this morning to reflect on the result. Following that meeting, the Taoiseach (Prime Minister) will make a public statement," the statement said.

Timo Soini said that the EU must not 'retaliate' in its negotiations with the UK. Credit: Reuters
  • Finland

Finland's foreign minister, eurosceptic Finns party leader Timo Soini, said the result must be respected and any "retaliation" in future negotiations between the UK and EU must be ruled out.

"The nation has had its say," he said on a party news website. "Any retaliation and whinge (in EU-Britain negotiations) is out of the question."

  • Czech Republic
Czech Prime Minister Bohuslav Sobotka said negotiations should be carried out 'quickly and rationally'. Credit: Reuters

Czech Prime Minister Bohuslav Sobotka said the European Union must change quickly in the wake of Britain's vote to support its citizens.

The European Union must change quickly. Not because Britain has left, but because the European project needs much stronger support of its citizens.

Europe must be more ready to act, be flexible, less bureaucratic and much more sensible to the diversity that the 27 member states represent.

– Czech Prime Minister Bohuslav Sobotka

Sobotka said the British vote did not mean the end of the EU and the bloc should agree Britain's leaving "quickly and rationally."

  • Netherlands
Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte

Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte said he "deeply regretted" the decision but "European co-operation will have to continue".

He added that Brexit "appeared irreversible but the process to leave may take a long time" and "may not start until after the German elections" which are due between August and October 2017.

  • Poland
Witold Waszczykowski said the vote to leave the EU was bad news for Poland and Europe. Credit: Reuters

Poland's Foreign Minister Witold Waszczykowski said Britain's vote to leave the EU was bad news for Europe and his country.

This is bad news for Europe, for Poland...

This is a great dilemma for the eurocrats, we all want to keep the EU, the question is in what shape.

– Poland's Foreign Minister Witold Waszczykowski

He added: "We will be trying to use this situation to make the European politicians aware why this happened. And it happened because this concept, which was created some time ago, is no longer popular in Europe."

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