EU ‘must neither be hysterical, nor fall into paralysis’ after Brexit – German FM

FM Frank-Walter Steinmeier said the shock vote by the British must be seen as a wake-up call. Diplomats from the six founding members of the EU – France, Netherlands, Italy, Belgium and Luxembourg, are currently holding a meeting on the issue.

Steinmeir said it was imperative that EU politicians start to listen not only “to the expectations of European governments, but also to the expectations of the people.

However, he also appealed for calm and for no rash decisions to be taken after 52 percent of the British public voted in favor of leaving the bloc. “It’s totally clear that in times like these one should neither be hysterical nor fall into paralysis,” he said.

Immediately after Friday’s vote, the German Foreign Ministry quoted Steinmeier on its official Twitter as saying: “The news from Britain is really sobering. It looks like a sad day for Europe and Britain.”

However in contrast to Germany’s caution, France has been keen to seal the British exit from the bloc as soon as possible.

“Negotiations have to go quickly in the common interest,” French foreign minister Jean-Marc Ayrault said. He added that it was imperative to move quickly as the other 27 members needed to give the EU new purpose or there could be a growing risk of populism. 

On Friday, European Parliament leaders said they also wanted a quick divorce from the UK, and that Britain must begin the process of leaving the bloc immediately.

We have the will of the British people on the table,” Manfred Weber told reporters, saying it now had to be implemented and “the most important thing is that we do this very quickly.”

There has been anger among large sections of the British public about having to leave the EU, with the younger generation who overwhelmingly voted to remain particularly making themselves heard.

A protest is set to take place in London on Saturday with demonstrators marching to the Houses of Parliament. The organizers hope the rally will show people’s extreme disappointment about the referendum that has “split [Britain] into two.

By Saturday morning, nearly 800,000 Brits had signed an online parliamentary petition calling for a second referendum. It easily reached the 100,000-signatures benchmark that means the issue must be debated in parliament within a year.

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