UPDATE: 06:50 a.m. EDT — German Chancellor Angela Merkel termed Brexit a setback for European integration and called for a calm analysis of the situation without rushing into any decisions.
“Our goal must be to have close future relations between Britain and EU,” she said. She added that she has invited the European Council’s President Donald Tusk, French President François Hollande and Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi for talks in Berlin on Monday.
Hollande said that the U.K.'s vote in favor of a Brexit was a “grievous” decision. He added that France will continue working with the U.K. saying, “Our close relations will be protected.”
“A jolt is needed. Europe must reaffirm its values: freedom, solidarity and peace,” Hollande said. "I’ll do everything to ensure we adopt profound change rather than self-absorption.”
UPDATE: 5:30 a.m. EDT — Reactions from across the world continued to pour in Friday after the United Kingdom's historic decision to split from the European Union. Leader of Italy's anti-immigration Northern League Matteo Salvini tweeted, “Hurrah for the courage of free citizens! Heart, brain and pride defeated lies, threats and blackmail. THANK YOU UK, now it's our turn.”
A BBC report said that the anti-immigration Sweden Democrats wrote on Twitter that “now we wait for swexit!”
Leader of the populist Danish People's Party, Kristian Thulesen Dahl, said a referendum would be “a good democratic custom.” Germany's euroskeptic AfD party’s Beatrix von Storch praised the “Independence Day for Great Britain” and demanded that European Parliament President Martin Schulz and European Commission head Jean-Claude Juncker resign. “The European Union has failed as a political union,” she said.
The United Kingdom's vote to exit the European Union has sparked calls from other countries in the 28-member bloc to follow suit. Friday's results showed 51.9 percent votes in favor of the "leave" group and 48.1 percent for the "remain" camp. Following this, Prime Minister David Cameron announced Friday that he will step down by October.
According to the BBC, there has already been talk of other EU leaders offering fresh concessions to keep the U.K. on board. But, both the "leave" and "remain" camps have dismissed this, saying the will of the British people must be respected.
Across Europe, far-right leaders have hailed the British for seceding from the highly bureaucratic EU and hinting at the possibility of more such exits.
Dutch anti-immigration leader Geert Wilders said that Brexit has defeated the “Europhile elite” and called for a similar referendum in Netherlands, or a “NExit,” as he put it, “as quickly as possible.”
“We want be in charge of our own country, our own money, our own borders, and our own immigration policy,” Wilders said in a statement. “If I become prime minister, there will be a referendum in the Netherlands on leaving the European Union as well. Let the Dutch people decide.”
Head of France’s Front National party Marine Le Pen also welcomed the result of the referendum hailing Brexit as the beginning of the end of the European Union. Le Pen, who hopes to run for presidency next year, called for a similar referendum in France soon.
“Like a lot of French people, I’m very happy that the British people held on and made the right choice. What we thought was impossible yesterday has now become possible,” she said.
Front National’s Vice President Florian Philippot tweeted, “The freedom of the people always ends up winning! Bravo United Kingdom. Now it’s our turn!”
Hungary’s Prime Minister Viktor Orban also hinted at a possible exit from the EU saying, “The main lesson to be learnt from the UK's #referendum is that Brussels must listen to the voice of the people. Why is Hungary in the EU? Hungary is in the EU because we believe in a strong Europe.”
"But Europe is strong only if it can give answers to major issues such as immigration that would strengthen Europe itself and not weaken it. The EU failed to give these answers,” he added.
But, not all of Europe feels the same way.
Former Finnish Prime Minister Alexander Stubb described Brexit a “bad nightmare” in his tweet saying, “Please tell me I'm still sleeping and this is all just a bad nightmare!”
“European integration is about crisis management. No lack of crises at the moment: #brexit #refugees #euro #terrorism. No easy solutions,” he tweeted.
Germany’s Foreign Office quoted the country’s Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier saying that it was “sobering” to hear that the "leave" camp won the referendum.
Luxembourg’s Prime Minister Bettel Xavier announced on Twitter that he regrets the Brexit results but pledged his country's support to the EU saying that it will continue to work for a strong European Union.
Spain's acting Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy on Friday reaffirmed the country’s commitment to the EU. “This result must make all [EU] member states reflect on how to strengthen ourselves more than ever to win back the vigor of the original spirit behind the European project and recover the interest, sympathy and attraction our citizens feel towards it,” he said.
Denmark’s Minister for Foreign Affairs Kristian Jensen tweeted saying, “I am stirred, not shaken. EU must reform, and Denmark will work to reform from within #brexit #dkpol.” He added that Prime Minister Lars Løkke Rasmussen will be issuing a statement shortly.
European Parliament President Martin Schulz has rejected the idea that a Brexit will trigger a domino effect across Europe. "We respect the way Great Britain has decided to go,” Schulz said. “David Cameron has put a great responsibility on his shoulders. We now have to negotiate seriously with Great Britain. It will be treated as a 'third country'.”
European Council President Donald Tusk promised an informal meeting of the other member countries and vowed to start a wider reflection on the future of the European Union.
Speaking from Brussels, Tusk said in a statement, “On behalf of the 27 leaders I can say that we determined to keep our unity as 27, for us the union is the framework for our common future. Until the United Kingdom formerly leaves the European Union, EU law will continue to apply to and within the UK.”
Brexit triggered reactions from leaders around the world.
In the U.S., President Barack Obama had been briefed about the Brexit situation and is continuously being updated as events unfurl. “We expect the president will have an opportunity to speak to Prime Minister Cameron over the course of the next day, and we will release further comment as soon as appropriate,” a White House representative said.
Presumptive Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump said it was a “great thing” that the people of the U.K. have “taken back their country” in voting to leave the EU. The real estate mogul landed Friday at his Trump Turnberry golf resort in Scotland.
Australia’s Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull said he expects a period of uncertainty and instability in global markets. “The impact on Australia immediately, directly, from a legal point of view, will be very limited because it will take some years for the United Kingdom to leave the European Union, to negotiate an exit,” he said. “However, we've seen already large falls on stock markets and there will be a degree of uncertainty for some time.”