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Friday, 24 June 2016

Brexit: Europe stunned by UK Leave vote

European Parliament President Martin Schulz speaks to reporters on 24 June
Image captionEuropean Parliament President Martin Schulz tells reporters it is time to behave 'seriously and responsibly'
A wave of shock is reverberating around Europe as countries across the EU and beyond digest the decision by UK voters to leave the European Union.
BBC correspondents across the continent report on the reaction and the likely effect the result will have.

Biggest crisis yet for Brussels - by Chris Morris

This represents the biggest setback in decades for those who support the idea of European unity.
The EU has been dealing with multiple crises in recent years - but this could, and probably will, dwarf them all.
Veteran European politician Carl Bildt has already spoken of immediate turmoil and long-term uncertainty.
David Cameron's fellow leaders will expect him to invoke Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty next week, triggering a divorce negotiation lasting at least two years - a vastly complicated legal and political process.
The rest of the EU will want to forge a good deal with the British government, but in many capitals there will be little appetite for doing the UK any favours. That's partly because Euroscepticism is on the rise across the continent, and influential political leaders will not want to give the impression that leaving is easy.

Shock for France - by Lucy Williamson, Paris

Despite all the irritation expressed here towards Britain's relationship with the EU, news that one of the bloc's largest members is leaving will come as a shock, with real implications for the country's own political debate.
Far-right National Front leader Marine Le Pen was among the first to respond with a cry of "victory for freedom!" Now it was time for a referendum in France and elsewhere in the EU, she tweeted. Her niece and party colleague, Marion Marechal-Le Pen, said Europe would be a "major theme" in next year's presidential elections.
That's something both the established mainstream parties here are concerned about. Just before the British vote, President Francois Hollande issued harsh warnings about the consequences of a Brexit, saying it could jeopardise Britain's access to the single market.
In the meantime, France and the UK are facing the prospect of new bilateral discussions on everything from trade ties, to residency rights for expats. And there have also been some politicians calling for Paris to scrap the Le Touquet agreement which governs the processing of UK-bound migrants in Calais.

Uncertainty in Dublin - by Shane Harrison

This is not the outcome the Republic of Ireland wanted.
The Irish government, which remained neutral in the Scottish independence referendum, actively encouraged Irish citizens in the UK to vote to remain in the EU.
The cabinet will meet this morning to consider what it calls the "very significant implications" for Ireland, Britain and the EU. Then Taoiseach (Prime Minister) Enda Kenny will make a public statement.
With uncertainty over what happens next and how long the process of UK EU withdrawal will take, there will be concern in Dublin about what the vote means for the border with Northern Ireland, the impact of a weakening sterling and the effect on trade, which is estimated at over €1bn between the two states every week.
Sinn Fein, which has MPs on both sides of the border, has called for vote on whether Northern Ireland should remain part of the UK or should become part of a united Ireland. But that is unlikely to be a priority for the Irish government, which does not believe a vote for a united Ireland is likely to get enough support.
In the course of the campaign Irish ministers disagreed with Northern Ireland Secretary Teresa Villiers about whether the border would be "hard" or "soft" if the British decided to leave.
Dublin said some a form of border control, whether on the border or at airports and ports, was likely to be re-introduced because the Republic is the only EU state to share a land border with the UK.

Nervous time for Greeks - by Richard Galpin in Athens

The Greek government had fervently wanted Britain to remain in the European Union, a desire shared by most of the population.
So the result of the referendum is likely to come as a shock.
The main concern for Greece is that Brexit could end up damaging the fragile Greek economy.
And this is reviving fears, which peaked during the financial crisis a year ago, that a "Grexit" could be back on the agenda, with Greece ultimately being forced out of the eurozone and perhaps even the EU.
This is partly based on what is already happening to the UK pound, which has fallen in value against the euro and the US dollar this morning.
If this turns out to be a long-term phenomenon then the vital tourism industry in Greece could be hit as British holidaymakers, who make up the largest contingent of foreign visitors, may be deterred from coming because it will now be more expensive.
There are also fears that Greek exports to Britain will be hit.
Experts believe these factors and the anticipated turbulence across European markets, could sink the fragile Greek economy.

'Russia's not to blame' - by Steve Rosenberg in Moscow

There's a degree of schadenfreude in Moscow at the UK's Brexit vote.
Pro-Kremlin radio Vesti FM said the result showed "the problems of the Western world are bigger than Russia's, and the speed of degradation in the West is faster than here".
The presenter suggested that if Brexit "sparks the next wave of global financial crisis, there's one positive: it'll be hard to blame us".
But the head of the foreign affairs committee of Russia's Upper House, Konstantin Kosachev, was more measured: "Considering our difficult relations with the EU now, there is a temptation to celebrate its misfortune. But I don't share this view. The EU remains our biggest trade partner. And if the EU falls apart at the seams, this will affect our trade."