- Chancellor calls U.K. decision a watershed moment for Europe
- Merkel aims for cooperative partnership with U.K. in future
German Chancellor Angela Merkel called for a “calm and measured” response from the European Union following the U.K.’s vote to leave, while also stressing that Britain must adhere to the EU’s rules for exiting the bloc.
“There’s no way around it: Today is a watershed moment for Europe, for European unification,” Merkel said in a televised statement from the chancellery in Berlin. The remaining 27 EU countries must avoid “drawing any hasty or easy conclusions from the referendum in Britain that would only divide Europe further. We need to do a calm and measured analysis of the situation.”
Merkel, who met earlier Friday with the leaders of Germany’s main political parties to discuss the consequences of the vote, has invited French President Francois Hollande, Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi and EU President Donald Tusk to Berlin on Monday. Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier will host his counterparts from the five other founding EU members for consultations on Saturday.
The U.K. voted on Thursday to quit the EU after more than four decades in a stunning rejection of the continent’s postwar political and economic order, sending shock waves around global markets. The vote sets the U.K. up for years of divorce talks with the EU.
“Until there’s an exit, Great Britain has all the rights and obligations of an EU member,” Merkel said. “Our goal should be to have a close and cooperative relationship with Great Britain in the future.”