Reactions to Britain's vote to leave the European Union

AP News
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Posted: Jun 24, 2016 1:01 PM
Reactions to Britain's vote to leave the European Union

"Damn! A bad day for Europe." — Sigmar Gabriel, Germany's vice chancellor and economy minister, on Twitter.

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"I will do everything I can as prime minister to steady the ship over the coming weeks and months, but I do not think it would be right for me to try to be the captain that steers the country to its next destination." — British Prime Minister David Cameron, announcing his intention to resign.

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"The dawn is breaking on an independent United Kingdom. Let June 23 go down in our history as our independence day!" — Nigel Farage, leader of the U.K. Independence Party.

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"It's true that the past years have been the most difficult ones in the history of our Union. But I always remember what my father used to tell me: What doesn't kill you makes you stronger." — EU President Donald Tusk, speaking to reporters in Brussels.

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"The European Union is strong enough to give the right answers to today." — German Chancellor Angela Merkel, speaking in Berlin.

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"A victory for freedom. We now need the same referendum in France and in EU nations." — French far-right leader Marine Le Pen.

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"The British referendum will either serve as a wake-up call for the sleepwalker heading toward the void, or it will be the beginning of a very dangerous and slippery course for our peoples." — Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras.

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"Huge numbers of people in the EU reject the EU's immigration policy, there's big disappointment with the economic policy." — Slovak Prime Minister Robert Fico.

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Britain's decision "is not the end of the world and above all not the end of the European Union." — Czech Prime Minister Bohuslav Sobotka, on Facebook.

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"The British people defeated the political elite in Brussels and in London and now they are in charge again. Now it is our turn." — Dutch right-wing politician Geert Wilders.

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"The conclusion is: we need a new European treaty." — Jaroslaw Kaczynski, leader of Poland's ruling Law and Justice party.

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"I think an independence referendum is now highly likely, but I also think it's important that we take time to consider all steps." — Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon.

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"We must do everything to avoid the domino effect, a situation when other member nations also say that they don't want to be in the European Union any longer." — Polish President Andrzej Duda, speaking in Krakow.

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"Today the European flag is at half-mast, but sometimes it is necessary to take a step back before taking a step forward." — Pedro Agramunt, president of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe, speaking in Strasbourg.

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"What matters now is that we keep Europe together." — German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier, speaking in Luxembourg.

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"I can only give a sigh: So it's done. This is bad news for Europe, bad news for Poland. It means instability of the situation in Britain now." — Polish Foreign Minister Witold Waszczykowski.

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"The people of the United Kingdom ... have declared their independence from the European Union, and have voted to reassert control over their own politics, borders and economy." — Donald Trump, the presumptive Republican U.S. presidential nominee, on Facebook.

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"We urge the authorities in the U.K. and Europe to work collaboratively to ensure a smooth transition to a new economic relationship." — Christine Lagarde, managing director of the International Monetary Fund.

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"Golden Dawn welcomes the victory of the nationalist and patriotic forces in Great Britain against the European Union, which has turned into a brutal instrument of international loan sharks." — Nikolaos Michaloliakos, leader of Greece's extreme-right Golden Dawn party.

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"A new set of economic circumstances has been created, which the world will have to deal with. Volatility is the new norm." — Arun Jaitley, finance minister of India.