Brexit brings calls for London to break away

LONDON (AP) – The Latest on Britain’s historic vote to leave the European Union (all times local):

7:30 p.m.

Britain has voted to leave the EU but London wants to stay – and some are suggesting the capital city should go its own way.

While 52 percent of British electors voted to leave the European Union, a majority of voters in London wished to remain.

After the result, Mayor Sadiq Khan issued a statement telling the 1 million EU citizens in London “you are very welcome here.”

Some Londoners urged the mayor to declare independence, rallying on social media under the hashtag #londependence.

Columnist Holly Baxter wrote in The Independent that “London didn’t vote for this, and Londoners should go it alone.” And former Labour government adviser Spencer Livermore tweeted “Independence for London within the EU should now be our goal. We would have a GDP twice as large as Singapore.”

Khan didn’t go that far, but he said that it was “crucial that London has a voice at the table” during Britain’s exit negotiations with the EU.


7:05 p.m.

U.K. technology startups, already hampered by a conservative banking environment, could face a tougher time raising money without access to funds that had been jointly financed by the European Union.

Mark Mulligan, a media analyst at London-based Midia Research, says replacing access to such funds with British alternatives “could take a couple of years, which is a lifetime in the startup world.”

One such fund, The North West Fund, has so far invested 150 million pounds in 440 British companies. For example, it helped South Manchester-based digital music startup Beatroot Ltd. launch last year with a 250,000-pound investment.

The fund is financed by the European Regional Development Fund and European Investment Bank under the European Commission’s “JEREMIE” program to help small businesses.


6:55 p.m.

French Finance Minister Michel Sapin says that “no one can say that this shock won’t have consequences” on European growth, but it surely will have a damaging effect on Britain’s economy.

“There will be very grave consequences for Great Britain,” Sapin told reporters Friday after the British referendum to leave the 28-member European Union. He urged London to quickly let others know when it wants to exit “to give visibility to economic actors.”

“This is not meant to be brutal, but the collective interest is that things move quickly,” Sapin said.

For the moment, consequences for the Eurozone are “extremely limited … but this calm may perhaps not last.”


6:30 p.m.

An organization of the world’s central banks says it’s confident that market uncertainty following Britain’s vote to leave the European Union can be contained with good global cooperation.

The Bank for International Settlements said in a statement Friday that “there is likely to be a period of uncertainty and adjustment.” It noted that Britain is closely integrated into the global economy and London is one of the world’s most important financial centers.

The Basel, Switzerland-based organization said: “With good cooperation at a global level, we are confident that uncertainty can be contained and that adjustments proceed as smoothly as possible.”


6:15 p.m.

Talk about procrastinating: Google says a leading question in the U.K. on Friday was, “What is the EU?”

“What is the EU?” was perhaps something to consider – and Google – before Britons voted themselves out of the European Union. Yet it’s the second-highest question on the European Union among U.K. Google users since the results of the country’s referendum were announced.

“What is the EU?” will certainly mean something different now that one of its most powerful and largest members has decided to leave.

Among other questions U.K. users pondered Friday, at least when it comes to the EU, include “What does it mean to leave the EU?” and “What will happen now (that) we’ve left the EU?”


5:55 p.m.

The International Air Transport Association said in a preliminary estimate Friday that the number of U.K. air passengers could be down 3 percent to 5 percent by 2020, driven by an economic downturn and fall in the value of the pound.

The British aviation market is dominated by outbound traffic, with such traffic accounting for just over two-thirds of all passengers, according to airline trade group. Last year, there were 53.9 million visits overseas by air by U.K. residents, compared to 26.2 million visits to the UK by overseas residents.

The economic impact would be offset partially by an expected increase in visitors to the U.K. attracted by the cheaper pound. The British currency fell to a 31-year low on Friday.


5:40 p.m.

Britain’s ambassador to the United Nations says the United Kingdom will remain “a world power” and “a diplomatic power” despite the vote to leave the European Union.

Matthew Rycroft told several reporters at U.N. headquarters in New York on Friday that “this is a significant moment for the UK, for the British people and for the UK’s role in the world.”

“The fundamentals of the UK’s strength in the world will endure,” Rycroft stressed, pointing to “our economy, our world-class diplomacy, armed forces, our commitment to international development, helping the world’s poorest, and above all here at the United Nations our permanent seat on the Security Council.”


5:30 p.m.

An extreme right political party in Greece has hailed Britain’s referendum result to leave the European Union as a victory for nationalism across Europe.

Nikolaos Michaloliakos, leader of the Golden Dawn party, called for a similar vote to be held in Greece.

“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,” he said in a statement.

Once a tiny far-right group which openly praised Adolf Hitler and Nazi Germany, Golden Dawn’s popularity surged during the country’s severe financial crisis to become the third largest party in Greece’s parliament.

Michaloliakos and other senior party officials are currently on trial for allegedly running a criminal organization.


5:15 p.m.

Amid the anxiety over Britain’s vote to leave the European Union, the Irish are managing some laughter to relieve the tension of a looming break-up.

Ireland’s premier drag queen, Panti Bliss, says she observed perfect comic timing when traveling through Dublin Airport arrivals after flying Friday from London.

As passengers neared the immigration checkpoint, she said, a passports official advised the newcomers: “All EU passports this way.”

After a long pause, the official clarified to much laughter: “Including the U.K.!”


4:20 p.m.

NATO’s chief says Britain’s defense secretary has called to reassure him his country remains fully engaged in the alliance the vote to pull out of the European Union.

NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg told reporters: “I spoke with Michael Fallon this morning and he assured me on behalf of the British government that they will continue to be committed, they will continue to contribute.”

Britain’s commitments to NATO include being a lead nation in 2017 for a new high-readiness joint task force and supplying the core for one of the four multinational battalions being created to help defend the Baltic states and Poland.

Stoltenberg said Britain opting to leave the EU makes for “a more unpredictable situation,” and that it is more crucial than ever for NATO to be strong and united.

He added: “But now it is a fact that the U.K. will leave (the EU). So then we have to look forward and find out how we can in the best possible way respond to that.”


4:05 p.m.

A member of the Estonia’s center-right coalition says Britain has started the breaking up of Europe and Russian President Vladimir “Putin is drinking champagne.”

Margus Tsahkna, chairman of the Baltic country’s conservative ILR party, says “Europe can be broken by no one else but by Europe itself. You don’t need tanks for it.”

His comments were seen as a nod to the increased assertiveness by Russian forces around the Baltic Sea. Moscow has yet to comment on the outcome of the British vote.

The ILR party is part of the three-party government that also includes the pro-market Reform Party and the Social Democrats.


3:50 p.m.

Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu says the European Union is in need of serious introspection after Britain’s decision to withdraw from the bloc.

Speaking to reporters Friday, he said all EU “policies have been unsuccessful,” pointing to integration, expansion, security and economic-related policies as examples.

The EU, the minister added, has failed to address the rise of several negative trends such as extremism, Islamophobia, racism and xenophobia.

He said that Britain’s withdrawal hinders the EU’s capacity to be a powerful global actor and that Ankara would have preferred it stayed in the bloc.

Cavusoglu said this development underscores Turkey’s importance for EU stability and security.


3:40 p.m.

The news of Britain’s decision to leave the European Union has become a topic of discussion for players at the European Championship in France.

Italy defender Giorgio Chiellini and his teammates went to bed thinking Britain would vote to remain in the European Union and they were “a bit shocked” to learn the country chose to leave the bloc.

Chiellini was speaking at the team’s Euro 2016 base camp in Montpellier, France, on Friday, three days before Italy’s match against Spain in the last 16.

He said “the main concern should be about an eventual domino effect caused by this decision. I don’t think that a simple U.K. exit can change the equilibrium of the whole European economy, or the world economy, aside from the heartburn everybody’s feeling these days.”

Chiellini added: “This vote is the symbol of a general discussion that you can feel in Italy and all across Europe, but I think that discontent shouldn’t lead to a vote for disintegration.”


3:30 p.m.

U.S. Treasury Secretary Jacob Lew has promised to “work closely with both London and Brussels and our international partners to ensure continued economic stability, security, and prosperity in Europe and beyond.”

In a statement released Friday following Britain’s vote to leave the European Union, Lew said he has been consulting for weeks with finance officials and investment firms in the United Kingdom, Europe and around the world.

He said: “The U.K. and other policymakers have the tools necessary to support financial stability, which is key to economic growth.”

Stock markets and the pound have plunged amid investor concerns about the economic repercussions of Britain’s departure from the EU, the world’s largest economic bloc.


3:10 p.m.

Bosnia’s leaders say EU membership will remain their goal despite Britain’s vote to leave.

Prime Minister Denis Zvizdic said Friday Bosnia is determined to join the European Union as “nowhere on this planet people live better.”

The country’s Croat member of the presidency, Dragan Covic, who submitted Bosnia’s membership application in February, said the U.K. vote was just another challenge that will make the Union stronger.

The worst war fought on the continent since the Nazi era was in Bosnia after the breakup of Yugoslavia in the 1990s. Part of the cause was nationalist separatism. Covic says Bosniaks, Serbs and Croats found inspiration in the European Union to overcome their differences and the joint efforts to become an EU member “turned us into better, more responsible” people.


3:00 p.m.

Slovak Foreign Minister Miroslav Lajcak says Britain must quickly inform its European Union partners about when it plans to leave the bloc.

Lajack said Friday after talks with EU counterparts in Luxembourg that “the overwhelming feeling among the member states is that we cannot afford to wait until the Conservative Party will find a new leader.”

When asked whether the EU could wait until October for Britain to notify Europe of its intentions, Lajcak said “I simply cannot imagine that,” and he added: “We do not have this luxury of waiting.”

He said: “We need to know where we stand. We need to be able to communicate with our people.”


2:45 p.m.

Turkey’s minister for EU affairs, Omer Celik, says Ankara respects the British people’s vote to withdraw from the European Union, but is warning that it was a bad decision for Europe.

Noting that European values were humanity’s shared values, Celik added that there had been serious problems with the implementation of European ideas in recent years and called for an update to existing mechanisms.

However, he added, “Young people’s support for the ‘remain’ campaign indicates that the idea of Europe has been successful.”

Celik also condemned the negative portrayal of Turkey in the lead-up to the referendum, saying UK Prime Minister David Cameron had failed to resist the extreme right’s attacks against Turkey.

“When mainstream politicians can’t act with common sense, they are drawn into the extreme-right agenda,” he said.


This item has been corrected to say Celik is Turkey’s minister for EU affairs, not Development Minister.


2:30 p.m.

Malta is offering to help smooth Britain’s path out of the EU when the Mediterranean island nation assumes the rotating presidency of the European Union in January.

Maltese Prime Minister Joseph Muscat noted Friday at a news conference that Britain was due to take on the baton in July 2017.

Muscat says Maltese ministries had already made preparations in case Britain voted to leave the union. He says Malta is “in full gear” to take on an important role as part of exit negotiations which will take place under its presidency.


2:20 p.m.

Lithuanian President Dalia Grybauskaite says she believes the European Union and Britain “will find a new way to live together.”

Grybauskaite says that “in the short term” the EU “will feel the consequences of this decision,” adding “it is our duty to restore people’s trust in the EU.”

Separately Friday, her Estonian counterpart Toomas Hendrik Ilves expressed hope that Britain’s decision to leave the bloc will strengthen cooperation between the remaining 27 EU member states.

Ilves said “personally, I hope that it will have a unifying effect on the EU27,” according to the Baltic News Service agency.

The three Baltic countries – Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia – joined the European Union after nearly five decades of Soviet occupation.


2:05 p.m.

The president of the European Council says the bloc is ready for quick talks on Britain’s exit, but that all EU regulations will apply to the nation until it fully leaves.

Donald Tusk said on Polish TVN24 Friday that “all laws and rules will apply as long as Britain is an EU member, and that will be years from now.”

The former Polish prime minister estimated the process will take about two years, after which Britain will be under its own laws and can seek to tighten immigration regulations.

He said he doesn’t expect the current or future British government to procrastinate over the opening of talks on a decision made by the nation.


2:00 p.m.

Britain’s Treasury Chief George Osborne has briefed Group of Seven finance ministers and central bank governors after Britain voted to leave the European Union.

Osborne told his followers on Twitter that he contacted his counterparts in the world’s biggest economies after markets gyrated following the seismic decision. The comments come after a dramatic day in which Bank of England Gov. Mark Carney also promised that the institution would take any necessary steps to maintain fiscal and monetary stability.

Osborne said Friday the vote for a British exit, or Brexit, was “not the outcome I wanted,” but that he respects the decision of the British people.

He promised to “do all I can to make it work.”


1:45 p.m.

Serbia’s prime minister says the Balkan country will continue on its pro-EU path despite the British vote to leave the European Union.

Aleksandar Vucic also expressed hope Friday the British exit will not affect EU plans to accept new members in the future.

Vucic says, “This is the biggest political earthquake since the fall of the Berlin Wall and there is no doubt that it will leave significant consequences.”

He concedes that “I cannot tell you what the EU enlargement policies will be (in the future),” But adds, “Serbia will continue on its European path.”

Serbia has sought to move closer to the EU following years of instability and war during the 1990s. There are concerns that Britain’s exit could strengthen the nationalists seeking closer ties with Russia.


1:40 p.m.

Turkish Prime Minister Binali Yildirim said on Friday that by opting to leave the European Union, British voters had expressed their disapproval of the negative campaign conducted against Turkey in the lead-up to the referendum.

In his first public statement following the United Kingdom’s EU referendum, Yildirim rebuked British Prime Minister David Cameron for speaking out against Turkey’s EU membership. “Despite centering his campaign on Turkey, despite making several outlandish comments, British voters dismissed his claims and have informed Mr. Cameron that his views regarding Turkey were wrong.”


1:35 p.m.

Italian Premier Matteo Renzi says after the British vote, it’s time for “calm and lucidity” so Europe can set to work restructuring.

Renzi said Friday “Europe is our home” and “that of our children and grandchildren.” He added that, today more than ever, “the house must be remodeled, maybe freshened up, but it’s the house of our tomorrow.” He said Europe’s young people are asking for “more Europe'” to realize dreams and expectations.

Many Italian college graduates, unable to find jobs at home, head to Britain to pursue research or careers in finance and other fields.

Renzi recalled that “in moments of difficulty, Europe pulls out the best of itself.”


1:30 p.m.

Poland’s prime minister says she will propose reforms at the European Union summit next week that are necessary to make the bloc stronger.

Beata Szydlo, whose government has been put under the EU’s rarely used “rule of law” scrutiny procedure, said Poland will remain a “responsible member” of the EU concerned about the unity and growth of a bloc that is shrinking to 27 members.

At the summit next week Poland will “propose reforms that we consider necessary,” Szydlo said

The EU must not pretend that it is not going through a crisis and should not avoid discussing difficult issues, she said.


1:30 p.m.

Croatia’s foreign minister says the British vote to leave the European Union presents a blow for the bloc and will likely affect its enlargement plans.

Miro Kovac, however, said Friday that Britain’s exit from the EU should not significantly affect Croatia’s economy.

Kovac said: “Croatia and Great Britain are not that connected economically like Croatia and some other EU member states.” He conceded that “Croatia will have to adapt politically to Great Britain’s exit from the EU.”

Croatia is the EU’s newest member state, having joined in 2013. Several Balkan states are also waiting in line for membership.

Kovac said: “We will advocate that the exit has no effect on the enlargement, but we have to be realistic, there will be consequences.”


1:25 p.m.

Pope Francis says the British decision to leave the European Union reflects the will of its people and that Britain and the rest of the continent must now work to live together.

Francis told reporters en route to Armenia on Friday that the decision places “a great responsibility on all of us to guarantee the well-being of the people of the United Kingdom.”

He said it also will require all to “take responsibility for the well-being and coexistence of the entire European continent.”

The Vatican has supported the European project from its inception, seeing unification as a way to improve social and economic standards and solidarity. While officially taking a neutral position as Britain debated whether to leave, Francis’ demands that Europe welcome in more migrants put him squarely at odds with the “Brexit” camp.


1:15 p.m.

Greece’s prime minister says the British referendum dealt a severe blow to European unification, and should force a shift toward more “democratic” practices within the European Union.

Alexis Tsipras who, a year ago, nearly presided over debt-crippled Greece’s exit from the Eurozone, said Friday that the vote “confirms a deep political crisis, a crisis of identity and strategy for Europe.”

He called for a swift change of course in EU thinking, saying politics must retake the lead “from the economy and technocrats.

“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,” Tsipras added in an address televised live.

Athens stocks tumbled 14 percent Friday.


1:10 p.m.

A senior commander of Iran’s powerful Revolutionary Guard has described Britain’s vote to leave the European Union as payback for “years of colonialism and crimes against humanity.”

Iran’s semi-official Fars news agency quoted Brig. Gen. Massoud Jazayeri making the comment Friday after the results of the EU referendum were announced. Jazayeri also serves as the deputy chief of staff of the Iranian armed forces.

Meanwhile, an official in President Hassan Rouhani’s office, Hamid Aboutalebi, called the vote a “big earthquake” that’s part of the “domino” collapse of the EU.

Iran’s government is still suspicious of Britain over its role in backing the 1953 coup that installed Shah Mohammad Reza Pahlavi to power. A British-Iranian woman remains held in the country by the Revolutionary Guard.


1 p.m.

London Mayor Sadiq Khan wants Europeans living in the British capital to feel welcome in the city despite the result of the EU referendum.

In a statement posted on his Facebook page, Khan praised London’s “nearly one million European citizens” as hard-working, tax-paying residents contributing to civic and cultural life.

“You are welcome here. We value the enormous contribution you make to our city and that will not change as a result of this referendum,” Khan said.

“We all have a responsibility to now seek to heal the divisions that have emerged throughout this campaign – and to focus on what unites us, rather than that which divides us.”


12:50 p.m.

The leader of Poland’s ruling party says that Britain’s decision to leave the European Union makes it evident that the bloc needs a new treaty that would regulate its operations better.

Jaroslaw Kaczynski said a constructive reaction in the form of new, more precise regulations is needed to the crisis that was exposed by the British vote.

“The conclusion is: we need a new European treaty,” Kaczynski told a news conference.

He said EU laws should be made more precise and become the sole basis for the group’s operations, as they are now sometimes based on arbitrary decisions. Also the principle of general consensus should be replaced by a strong majority, to avoid delays in decision-making, he said.

He suggested top EU leaders should consider leaving their posts.


12:45 p.m.

The leader of an Italian anti-immigrant party is calling the European Union “a cage of crazies” that is killing jobs and citizen dignity.

Matteo Salvini, who heads the right-wing Northern League, said Friday that the European Union is “the death of our work, our dignity.”

He says his party will push for reviewing and overhauling EU treaties dealing with the euro common currency, trade and immigration.

The League used to be a key ally of former Premier Silvio Berlusconi. But it has increasingly become more right-wing as it seeks alliances with far-right parties across Europe.


12:40 p.m.

Spain’s acting Foreign Minister says his country should make the most of Britain’s decision to leave the European Union to press its claim for sovereignty of the disputed colony of Gibraltar.

Margallo told Onda Cero radio Friday that Spain should again push its offer of a period of co-sovereignty for Gibraltar’s 30,000 inhabitants prior to becoming Spanish again.

Margallo, whose conservative Popular Party runs Spain’s caretaker government ahead of repeat elections Sunday, said the Brexit vote, while regrettable, completely changes the panorama regarding Gibraltar.

“I hope the joint sovereignty formula, or to put it clearly, the Spanish flag on the Rock – is much closer rather than further away,” said Margallo.

Margallo said as soon as the EU-UK divorce is completed, EU treaties would no longer apply and Gibraltar would be considered a third country, outside the single market. He said Spain should then seek for Gibraltar to be excluded from future Britain-EU negotiations and treated as a strictly bilateral issue with Spain.

Gibraltar, which voted overwhelmingly to remain in the EU, depends heavily on Spain for produce and supplies. English and Spanish are spoken on the Rock and thousands of Spaniards cross over the border each day to work.

Spain ceded Gibraltar’s sovereignty to Britain in a 1713 treaty but has persistently sought its return ever since.


12:35 p.m.

Romania’s president says the country will look after Romanians living in Britain after it voted to leave the European Union.

Klaus Iohannis said Friday it would take Britain two years of exit negotiations and “we will negotiate so that Romania’s interests are protected and we will look after Romanians who live and work in Britain.”

There are officially 150,000 Romanians working in Britain, but unofficially there are double that.

Iohannis said he regretted Britain’s decision to leave the EU, but urged Romanians to “not to worry excessively,” adding the economic impact on the Romanian leu was “small and manageable.”

He spoke after meeting Prime Minister Dacian Ciolos, the central bank governor Mugur Isarescu and party leaders.


12:30 p.m.

Polish President Andrzej Duda says Britain’s decision to exit the European Union is “sad news” that should spur the bloc to counteract any other nations wishing to leave.

“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,” Duda said Friday in his hometown of Krakow.

He said the European leaders should analyze what made Britain vote to leave.

“Maybe (the EU) imposes too much on its members, maybe the citizens believe that it does not operate in a democratic way and they have no right to speak on matters important to them, maybe they believe that too many decisions are taken arbitrarily in Brussels..”


12:20 p.m.

Italy’s foreign minister calls the British vote for an EU exit a “wakeup” call to the rest of the bloc.

Minister Paolo Gentiloni says Italy, an EU founding member, will push so that after this “grave decision” Brussels won’t react with “ordinary administration” of affairs.

Instead, Gentiloni said Friday, Italy contends the challenge to respond to the British exit, “which is negative for us,” must be to relaunch “common policies for growth, for migration and common defense.”

For Italy, a staunch proponent of the European Union, the vote result was shocking.

Said SkyTG24 TV, “it’s as if Big Ben stopped.”


12:15 p.m.

Norwegian Prime Minister Erna Solberg says British voters’ decision to leave the EU will be “a boost for extreme forces that want less cooperation in Europe.”

Solberg whose country is not an EU member, said Friday they are “anti-establishment, anti-globalization, anti-EU forces (…) that can be pretty extreme.”

Oil-rich nation Norway has signed up to the European Economic Area agreement and thereby access to the EU’s huge single market.

In neighboring Sweden, Prime Minister Stefan Lofven said “we must build a Europe for the people, by the people, with the people.”


12:15 p.m.

Germany’s foreign minister says the European Union must avoid falling into hysteria or shock after British voters decided to leave.

Frank-Walter Steinmeier said as he arrived Friday at a meeting with EU counterparts: “What matters now is that we keep Europe together.”

He said that officials don’t yet have answers to all the questions that arise from the British vote, but that people want the EU to respond to the problems they see.

Steinmeier says leaders should focus on finding “common European solutions where they are missing” – for example to the migrant crisis and doing more to boost jobs and growth.


12:10 p.m.

The European Union’s Dutch presidency says Europe must pay more attention to people’s concerns about jobs, security and migration in the wake of the British vote to leave the EU.

Dutch Foreign Minister Bert Koenders said Friday that “what we have to do here is not business as usual, but look at the real concerns of citizens.”

Koenders warned of two short-term dangers: “those who want to take Europe apart, and the others saying we have to all at once go to even more Brussels, even more integration.”

He expressed hope that the process of negotiating Britain’s exit would be “transparent, predictable and as soon as possible.”


12:10 p.m.

Austria’s chancellor says Britain’s decision to leave the EU shows the necessity for reforms, particularly in boosting European economies, stemming unemployment and improving working conditions.

Christian Kern says the EU needs “a reform process with a clear direction” that will be supported by citizens of member countries.

His statement issued Thursday says such themes must be discussed in Brussels but adds national governments must also provide input “because we have now seen how quickly people’s trust in the EU can be lost.”

Rising disenchantment with the EU in Austria contributed to the strong showing last month of a euroskeptic populist candidate who came within a few percentage points of winning presidential elections.


12:05 p.m.

Slovenia’s prime minister says Britain’s exit from the European Union will eventually help consolidate the bloc.

Miro Cerar said Friday that the British vote to leave the EU will cause “a short period of relative uncertainty of international markets.”

Cerar added that after that it will lead to “further consolidation of the EU and encouragement to its renewal.”

“It is time to refocus seriously on our common future, in particular on those concrete elements to the benefit of our citizens which bond us and make us stronger,” Cerar says.

He adds that “Slovenia by all means remains strongly committed to the strengthening of the European Union.”


11:55 a.m.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel says the European Union is strong enough to find the “right answers” to Britain’s vote to leave the bloc.

Merkel said Friday that Germany has a “special interest” and a “special responsibility” in European unity succeeding. She said she has invited EU President Donald Tusk, French President Francois Hollande and Italian Premier Matteo Renzi to a meeting in Berlin on Monday ahead of a previously scheduled EU summit.

Merkel told reporters in Berlin that Europe shouldn’t draw “quick and simple conclusions” from the referendum that would only create further divisions.

She voiced “great regret” at the British decision to leave the EU and said the bloc must aim for a “close” future relationship with Britain. She emphasized that the country remains an EU member with “all rights and obligations” on both sides until negotiations are complete.


11:40 a.m.

Scottish leader Nicola Sturgeon says a new Scottish referendum on independence is “highly likely” because of Britain’s vote to leave the European Union.

She said Friday legislation will be prepared for a possible new vote. Independence was defeated two years ago in a Scottish referendum.

Sturgeon said she would do everything possible to keep Scotland inside the EU. She said this means another referendum “has to be on the table.”

Britain’s decision to leave the EU represents a substantial, material change in Scotland’s relations and could justify another independence vote, she said.

The Scottish leader also praised British Prime Minister David Cameron, who has said he will resign when a new party leader is chosen before October.


11:35 a.m.

European Union leaders say that Britain will remain a member of the bloc until its exit negotiations are concluded, which probably means at least two years longer.

The leaders of the EU’s institutions said Friday that “until this process of negotiations is over, the United Kingdom remains a member of the European Union, with all the rights and obligations that derive from this.”

They said in a statement that under the bloc’s treaties “EU law continues to apply to the full to and in the United Kingdom until it is no longer a member.”

The statement was signed by European Council President Donald Tusk, European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker, European Parliament President Martin Schulz and Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte, whose country currently holds the EU’s rotating presidency.


11:30 a.m.

French President Francois Hollande said he profoundly regrets the British vote to leave the European Union, but that the union must make changes in order to move forward. In a brief televised statement, Hollande said the vote will put Europe to the test, and he called for bolstering security and industrial policies.

He also called for reinforcement of the zone of countries that use the euro.

He said, “To move forward, Europe cannot act as before.”


11:25 a.m.

Boris Johnson says the vote to leave the European Union gives Britons a “glorious opportunity” to take control.

He said Friday there is no need for haste in negotiations.

He said the vote means Britain will be able to set its own taxes and control its own borders.

“It was a noble idea for its time; it is no longer right for this country,” Johnson said of the EU.

He praised Prime Minister David Cameron as an “extraordinary politician” and said he is “sad” to see Cameron resign.

The former London mayor did not say Thursday if he plans to contend for the Conservative Party leadership.


11:15 a.m.

European Union leaders are warning Britain to leave the EU quickly and avoid prolonging uncertainty.

The presidents of the EU’s main institutions said in a statement Friday that they expect London to act on the decision to leave “as soon as possible, however painful that process may be.”

The four – EU Council President Donald Tusk, Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker, Parliament President Martin Schulz and Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte – said that “any delay would unnecessarily prolong uncertainty.”

Prime Minister David Cameron has suggested that formal notification of Britain’s departure might not come before October.


11 a.m.

French far-right leader Marine Le Pen says pro-independence movements in the European Parliament will meet soon to plan their next move after the British vote to leave the European Union.

With a broad smile on her face, Le Pen said her National Front was the only political party in France to take the possibility of a British exit seriously, and she reiterated her call for a similar referendum in France, calling it “a democratic necessity.”

“The British people have given to Europeans and to all the people of the world a shining lesson in democracy,” Le Pen said.

Le Pen, who is a member of the European Parliament, is also positioning herself to run for president of France in elections next year.


11 a.m.

Slovak Prime Minister Robert Fico says the EU will have to react quickly to Britain’s decision to leave.

Fico, whose country is taking over the rotating EU presidency in July, says the bloc’s key policies have to change.

In a Friday statement Fico says: “Huge numbers of people in the EU reject the EU’s immigration policy, there’s big disappointment with the economic policy.”

Fico says the EU needs to be bold enough to say that those EU policies need “a fundamental change.”

Fico is a vocal critic of the EU’s approach to the migrant crisis, in particular to the plan to redistribute the refugees in member states.

He says that during the presidency, he is ready to provide room for informal debates on the bloc’s future.


10:55 a.m.

Poland’s foreign minister says that if the model of a political form of the European Union keeps being pushed, the common European project may end in “catastrophe.”

Witold Waszczykowski said Friday that European politicians should think more deeply about whether to continue pushing for a political form of the union.

“If there is a deeper reflection, a pause in the pushing of this French-German model, then the union will survive. But if the eurozone is forced, and the eurozone creates some new institutions, its own budget and treats the whole European Union as a facade, then it may all end in a catastrophe.”

He said other countries may now use referendums to “blackmail the EU to win a change in their status.”


10:50 a.m.

The leader of the ALDE liberals in the European Parliament says it is necessary for Britain to officially declare its intention to leave the European Union and not wait until October when Prime Minister David Cameron has said he will step down.

Guy Verhofstadt said he found it “unacceptable … that he is going to wait until October and let it to his successor.”

Despite the referendum result, Britain can choose the moment when it officially tells its European partners that it will leave, officially kicking off a process that could take two years or longer.

“It would be possible that in the whole of 2016 there is no notification of the British decision, what is against the will of the British citizens,” Verhofstadt said.

He warned that would only extend the market turbulence that started immediately after the results were known.


10:40 a.m.

NATO’s chief says the British vote to leave the European Union shouldn’t affect its status as a reliable and key member of the U.S.-led military alliance.

“As it defines the next chapter in its relationship with the EU, I know that the United Kingdom’s position in NATO will remain unchanged,” NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg said Friday in a statement. “The U.K. will remain a strong and committed NATO ally, and will continue to play its leading role in our alliance.”

British voters’ decision on Thursday to exit the 28-nation European Union sent shockwaves through Europe and around the world.

“Today, as we face more instability and uncertainty, NATO is more important than ever as a platform for cooperation among European allies, and between Europe and North America,” Stoltenberg said. “A strong, united and determined NATO remains an essential pillar of stability in a turbulent world, and a key contributor to international peace and security.”


10:35 a.m.

The European Central Bank says it is “closely monitoring financial markets” in the wake of the British vote to leave the European Union.

The chief monetary authority for the 19 countries that use the euro currency says that it “stands ready” to provide additional credit to financial institutions if they need it to do business.

It also said it was staying in close contact with other central banks.

Otherwise the ECB did not immediately announce any new measures. The bank already provides short-term cheap credit to banks in any amount at regular intervals, and has pumped more cash into the system through a bond purchase program aimed at raising inflation.

The British vote shook up financial markets around the globe on Monday, leading to sharp falls in stocks and the British pound.


10:30 a.m.

Switzerland’s central bank says it has intervened in currency markets after the Swiss franc came “under upward pressure” following Britain’s vote to leave the European Union.

The Swiss National Bank says in a brief statement Friday that it intervened in the foreign exchange market to “stabilize the situation” and will “remain active in that market.”

The British referendum vote to leave the European bloc has caused turmoil in financial markets, driving many stock markets lower and currency exchanges reeling.

Joe Rundle, head of trading at ETX Capital, said in a note that the SNB move was aimed to “keep a lid on the franc after a flight to safety following the Brexit vote.”

He said many central banks “could be forced into taking drastic action to stem outflows.”


10:15 a.m.

Germany’s vice chancellor says the Brexit vote is a “chance for a new beginning” but that Europe must not return to business as usual.

Sigmar Gabriel, also Germany’s Economy Minister, told Bild newspaper Friday “the exit of the United Kingdom is a shrill wakeup call for European politics. Whoever doesn’t listen or takes refuge in the usual rituals drives Europe into a wall.”

Gabriel says “we don’t need ‘more Europe,” but a ‘different Europe.'”

He says the message of the British voters is that politicians need to deal head-on with the problems facing the EU like high unemployment, the migrant crisis and social security issues.

He says the British “didn’t vote against Europe, but against the way it’s been configured up to now.”


10:10 a.m.

Spain’s acting Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy says his country has received Britain’s decision to leave the European Union with sadness, adding that “it ought to make all member nations rethink.”

Rajoy said he wished to transmit a message of “serenity and tranquility” to Spaniards and to businesses, markets and institutions, saying that now was not the moment to promote uncertainty despite the upset decision.

Madrid’s benchmark Ibex 35 index followed the slide of other markets and was down more than 10 percent in early morning trading Friday.

Rajoy also said he wanted to send a message of calm to Spanish citizens in Britain and Britons in Spain, stressing that during the estimated period of two years it will take Britain to fully leave the bloc, their rights would remain unchanged.

He reiterated Spain’s commitment to contribute toward greater EU economic and political unity, saying the bloc has provided the greatest period of peace, liberty and prosperity in the region ever.


10:10 a.m.

Poland’s Foreign Ministry says that Britain’s decision is a “warning signal” of disillusionment that urges the European Union to reform in order to forestall any future divisions.

In a statement Friday after Britain’s decision was officially announced, the ministry said that the “disillusionment with European integration and declining trust in the EU” can be seen in some other member nations, but they do not question the European project.

“It is imperative that we reform the EU by cutting red tape, increasing the democratic legitimacy of its decisions, and better adapting it to new challenges,” the ministry said.

Poland wants to help forge future EU relations with London that should be “pragmatic and beneficial to all sides” and declares Britain an “important partner” to Poland.


10:05 a.m.

Germany’s justice minister says that Britain’s exit from the European Union should be implemented quickly.

Heiko Maas said in a statement that “it is a black Friday for Europe.” He added that “we respect the decision by a narrow majority of Britons. The Brexit must now be implemented quickly.” He didn’t give a specific timeframe.

Maas said that “one thing is clear: we will fight for Europe.” He said that Europeans must stick together for their “ideas of peace, freedom and justice.”

Chancellor Angela Merkel was due to meet the leaders of the parties in the German Parliament and then make a statement on the referendum outcome at 12.30 p.m. (1030 GMT).


10 a.m.

Czech Prime Minister Bohuslav Sobotka says the British people’s decision to leave the EU “is not the end of the world and above all not the end of the European Union.”

Sobotka says Britain has decided to take “a different road than European integration. This decision is serious and irreversible.”

In a reaction on Facebook, the Czech leader said Friday the EU has to work to minimize the damage to EU and Czech citizens.

“The EU has to change. Not because Britain left, but because the European project needs much stronger support from citizens.”

“The EU is for us, the Czech Republic, the best possible guarantee of stability, peace and prosperity.”

Sobotka said Britain will become less important and will be struggling to keep Scotland in the U.K.


9:55 a.m.

Boos – and a few cheers – greeted former London Mayor Boris Johnson as he left his London home the morning after a historic vote to leave the European Union.

Johnson is one of the primary candidates to become prime minister after being the most prominent figure in the campaign to have the U.K. leave the single market

Dozens waited outside his north London home in anticipation that Johnson would speak. But he instead got into a cab to drive to Vote Leave headquarters.


9:50 a.m.

Hungary’s prime minister says the issue of immigration and how the British “can keep their island” determined the vote on Britain leaving the European Union.

Prime Minister Viktor Orban, who says the ideal number of migrants entering Hungary is “zero,” said Friday on state radio that the biggest lesson of the UK vote is that Brussels “must hear the voice of the people.”

Orban said that Hungary is in the EU because “we believe in a strong Europe, but Europe is strong only if it can give solutions which make it stronger … to significant problems like migration.”

Orban earlier this week bought a full-page ad in British newspaper The Daily Mail, saying that “Hungary is proud to stand with you as a member of the European Union.”

An estimated 300,000 Hungarians live in Britain.


9:45 a.m.

Romania’s president will meet with the prime minister and the governor of the central bank to discuss Britain’s decision to leave the European Union.

President Klaus Iohannis is expected to make a statement later Friday, followed by Prime Minister Dacian Ciolos.

There are officially some 150,000 Romanians living in Britain, although the real number is estimated to be double that.

Romanian leaders have said they favor Britain staying in the EU. Romanian joined the bloc in 2007.


9:40 a.m.

Scandinavian euroskeptic parties are rushing to suggest membership votes after British voters decided to leave the European Union.

In Sweden, which joined the European Union in 1995, the anti-immigrant Sweden Democrats wrote Friday on Twitter that “now we wait for (hashtag) swexit!”

The Swedish Left Party suggested Sweden renegotiate its deal with the bloc but leader Jonas Sjostedt cautioned he first wants “to know what Britain’s new relationship with the EU looks like.”

Kristian Thulesen Dahl, head of the Danish People’s Party, said a referendum would be “a good democratic custom” while Pernille Skipper of the left-wing Unity List, called it “the only consequence of the British results.”

Denmark has opted out of parts of EU treaties for fear of losing sovereignty.

Neither Sweden nor Denmark plans a referendum.


9:40 a.m.

Moldova’s prime minister calls Britain’s vote to leave the European Union “a sad day for Europe.”

However, Prime Minister Pavel Filip said that Moldova would remain committed to joining the EU.

“This is a sad day for Europe and for Britain’s European and international friends,” said Filip early Friday. “The European project needs now, more than ever, to be reaffirmed and trusted.”

“Moldova will remain attached to its EU road, despite the result in the UK, because we trust the European Union as a successful project”

Moldova, a country of 4 million located between Romania and Ukraine, signed an association agreement with the EU in 2014, angering Russia.


9:35 a.m.

Bank of Japan Gov. Haruhiko Kuroda says the central bank will work to maintain financial stability following the British vote.

“The Bank of Japan, in close cooperation with relevant domestic and foreign authorities, will continue to carefully monitor how the result would affect global financial markets,” he said in a statement.

“The Bank will stand ready to provide sufficient liquidity, including utilizing the swap arrangements among the six central banks, and thereby ensure the stability of financial markets.”


9:30 a.m.

The leaders of some of Britain’s largest banks have issued statements to their customers underscoring that they will work tirelessly on their behalf in the unsettled times ahead following Britain’s decision to leave the European Union.

HSBC chair Douglas Flint says the country is entering a new era and that settling new trade deals with be complex and time-consuming.

But Flint says that “as one of the largest, most stable, liquid and prudent financial institutions in the world, HSBC is well-placed to support our customers and the markets as they deal with the challenges that will arise.”

The CEO of Barclays, Jes Staley, said many questions will be asked in the coming days about what happens next.

“We have stood in service of our customers and clients for over 325 years. We have been here for them through equally profound changes before,” Staley said.


9:30 a.m.

Danish Prime Minister Lars Loekke Rasmussen says “Denmark belongs to the European Union” and the Scandinavian country has “no plans to hold a referendum on this basic matter.”

Loekke Rasmussen says being member of the 28-member bloc is “Denmark’s best opportunity to influence the world.”

He said Friday referendums across the EU “must be food for thought,” adding it shows a euroskepticism “that we as decision-makers must take very seriously.”

In Norway, which is not an EU member, Prime Minister Erna Solberg told Norwegian broadcaster NRK she was confident that the EU would “find solutions to this.”

Sweden’s Prime Minister Stefan Lofven said the bloc now faces “great challenges” when it comes to economy, migration, climate and security


9:25 a.m.

British Prime Minister David Cameron’s decision to resign after losing the referendum vote will set off an intense Conservative Party leadership battle.

Cameron said Friday a new prime minister should be in place by the party conference in October.

Among the likely contenders are former London Mayor Boris Johnson and Justice Secretary Michael Gove, who both helped lead the “leave” campaign.

Other Cabinet members are likely to contend as well.


9:15 a.m.

Poland’s foreign minister says Britain’s deciding to leave the European Union is “bad news” for Europe and for the many Poles – estimated at about 850,000 – who now live in Britain.

Witold Waszczykowski was speaking Friday before the official results of the British vote on EU membership were announced.

He says “I can only give a sigh: so it’s done. This is bad news for Europe, bad news for Poland. … The status of Poles living there will not change for now, but we don’t really know how much Britain’s status will be changed.”

He said negotiations on Britain’s new ties with the EU can take between two and 15 years but others have urged the Brexit talks be held quickly.


9:05 a.m.

European Parliament President Martin Schulz says the EU assembly will hold an emergency session next week following the U.K.’s decision to leave the bloc.

Schulz told reporters that the parliament would meet on Tuesday morning, ahead of a summit of EU leaders in Brussels where the Brexit vote will top the agenda.

He said the assembly must examine what steps to take next as Britain negotiates its departure, especially in light of British Prime Minister David Cameron’s decision to leave office in October.


9:05 a.m.

Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte is calling for a balanced disentanglement between the EU and Britain and said he did not see much interest in having a Dutch national referendum on EU membership as advocated by populist right-wing politician Geert Wilders.

Rutte said it was “important now, also in the interest of the Netherlands, is that we try to find a solution step-by-step and in a stable manner.” He then headed off to Brussels to speak with top EU officials on the British referendum results.

Rutte dismissed Wilders’ call for a Dutch vote on the EU, saying “I don’t think the Dutch are currently interested in having a referendum on that.”

The prime minister says the Dutch understand that “cooperation with other countries in a common market … is vital for our country.”


9 a.m.

Bank of England Gov. Mark Carney says the institution is prepared to deal with the market volatility that is under way following the Britain’s decision to leave the European Union.

Carney says the bank has “engaged in extensive contingency planning” and he is in close contact with Treasury chief George Osborne.

Carney says that capital requirements for Britian’s largest banks are 10 times higher than before the start of the 2008 financial crisis.

He says the Bank of England has stress tested the banks “against scenarios more severe than the country currently faces.” Carney says UK banks have raised over 130 billion pounds of capital.


8:55 a.m.

Tim Farron, the leader of the Liberal Democrats and a staunch backer of Britain remaining in the EU “was utterly gutted and heartbroken” by the outcome of the referendum.

“I accept the result but by golly I don’t agree with it,” he told the BBC on Friday.

Farron blamed the outcome on both Conservative Prime Minister David Cameron, for having “cheaply derided the European Union for a quick headline,” and Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn, for “his abject failure to take this seriously.”

Farron noted that most young voters voted to remain. He says “what a tragedy that other voters have chosen to damage their future.”


8:50 a.m.

The president of an influential German economic think tank says Britain’s decision to leave the European Union is a “defeat of reason” and that leaders must keep the UK as integrated as possible in European markets.

Ifo Institute President Clemens Fuest says “politicians must now do everything possible to limit the economic damage.”

He is pushing for quick action, saying that “it’s important to bring about a conclusion of the negotiations as quickly as possible so that the phase of uncertainty over future economic relations is as short as possible.”


8:50 a.m.

Switzerland, which is not in the European Union, has set up a helpline for its citizens with questions over the British exit.

The Swiss government on Friday assured its citizens that despite the vote, “currently applicable rules for Swiss citizens and businesses remain valid for the time being.”

But the government says it was adding additional staff to help field questions from its citizens. It says it plans to keep the hotline up around the clock, seven-days a week as needed.


8:40 p.m.

European Parliament President Martin Schulz says Britain’s exit from the EU must be done quickly.

Schulz tweeted Friday that the “will of voters must be respected. Now need speedy and clear exit negotiation.”

He says the U.K.’s relationship with the EU had been ambiguous but that “now it’s clear.”

Britain has up to two years to negotiate an exit, but EU officials have been insisting on quick and potentially tough negotiations to discourage the 27 other countries in the bloc from wanting to leave.


8:40 a.m.

The heads of the European Greens party say the European Union needs a reset with the vote to leave in Britain showing that the EU is more divided than ever.

Joint chairs Monica Frassoni and Reinhard Buetikofer say Friday that “Europe is more divided and less colorful” and that “we cannot go on with business as usual.”

They said: “We need to ‘reset’ the EU and together make it able to deliver credible solutions, notably to those facing a persistent economic uncertainty and a growing sense of insecurity.”


8:35 a.m.

Germany’s Foreign Ministry says it will host a meeting of the top diplomats from the original six founding nations of the European Union.

In a statement Friday, the ministry said the foreign ministers of Germany, France, Netherlands, Italy, Belgium and Luxembourg would meet Saturday in Berlin.

The ministry says the meeting is part of a long “tradition of talks between the six European founder nations” and that they will discuss “current European political topics.


8:30 a.m.

Germany’s foreign minister says Britain’s decision to leave the European Union is “truly sobering” news.

Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier says Friday that “it looks like a sad day for Europe and for the United Kingdom.”

German officials have repeatedly said that they wanted Britain to remain in the EU.


8:25 a.m.

Prime Minister David Cameron says he will resign by the fall and insists the British people’s will must be respected after voters chose to leave the 28-nation European Union.

Cameron says there can be no doubt about the result of Thursday’s historic vote but that he is not the “captain” that will steer the ship through difficult negotiations with the EU.

He says he will resign by the time of the Conservative party conference in the fall.

British stocks are plunging as the market opens as investors scramble to react to the news. The pound has hit a 31-year low.

(Copyright 2016 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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