Monday 19 August 2019

EU referendum: The world reacts - 'Anarchy in the UK?'

The world reacts to the news that Britain has voted to leave the European Union. Photo: PA
The world reacts to the news that Britain has voted to leave the European Union. Photo: PA Newsdesk Newsdesk

Europe wakes up to the news that Britain has decided to leave the European Union.


Malcolm Turnbull has said he is "confident" that his country's negotiations towards a free trade agreement with the EU will continue. The Australian prime minister is the first world leader to comment on the outcome of the British referendum.


Former Swedish prime minister Carl Bildt called the result "beyond comprehension" and predicted long-term turmoil as a result of the vote on Twitter. He also noted that the Zimbabwean dollar was gaining on sterling.


Cecilia Wikström, EU Parliamentary leader for the Swedish Liberal Party, told Sweden's Dagens Nyheter in a statement  that Europe would be weakened by the UK's decision.

"I regret that the UK now has decided to leave the EU. Europe will become much poorer, weaker and less competitive without them and Sweden have lost a close partner in the Union. The withdrawal will be a strong blow, especially against the British economy, but we must not allow the result of the referendum puts a spoke in the wheels of Europe's future."

EU minister Ann Linde told Swedish Radio: "When I woke up this morning, I thought it would be a Midsummer Eve when flowers wilt."

Annie Lööv, leader of Sweden's Centre Party, called the vote "a day of mourning. A nightmare."

Dagen's Nyheter's EU correspondent Annika Ström Melin called the decision "An upheaval and turning point for the entire EU."

"Every other country lament Britain's choice. The result in the British referendum is an earthquake for the entire EU."


Dutch anti-immigration leader Geert Wilders called for a referendum on the Netherlands' membership in the EU following the British result.

"We want be in charge of our own country, our own money, our own borders, and our own immigration policy," he said in a statement.


Germany's Foreign Ministry has tweeted that this is "a sad day for Europe" and that the news from Britain are "very sobering:"


Manfred Weber, a senior German conservative MEP and a close ally of Angela Merkel, has warned Britain will receive "no special treatment" and must leave the EU within two years.

He writes in four tweets: "We respect and regret the decision of the British voters. It causes major damage to both sides.

"This was a British vote, not a European vote. Co-operation within Europe is a question of self-assertion of the continent.

"We want a better and smarter Europe. We have to convince the people and bring Europe back to them.

"Exit negotiations should be concluded within two years at max. There cannot be any special treatment. Leave means leave."



France's far right National Front party called for a referendum on European Union membership in France on Friday as Britain voted to leave the bloc.

Marine Le Pen, the populist party's leader, said on Twitter that "freedom has won" as she calls for a European referendum in France.


"The liberty of peoples always wins in the end! Bravo to the United Kingdom," echoed Le Pen's deputy leader Florian Philippot on Twitter. "Our turn now #Brexit #Frexit."

The FN has long called for France to exit the EU and has performed well in recent elections, even though it has yet to break through effectively in second-round voting.

Marion Le Pen also tweeted that it's now time to "import democracy to France:"


International news organisations report

United States

The New York Times' website is currently leading on the plummeting pound:


The Wall Street Journal is splashing: "UK votes to exit EU; pound nose-dives"



The Italian papers are all now quoting the BBC projection of a win for Brexit. "Great Britain to leave the EU, Farage rejoices" is La Repubblica's online headline. "Rumours of Cameron's resignation. Sterling plunges, financial markets in panic."

The paper quotes Nigel Farage as saying "It's a victory for ordinary people."

The pound has fallen to its lowest level since 1985, the daily notes.


Britain is leaving. It always kept one foot outside Europe, but Europe will now be smaller and more fragile," says Mario Calabresi, the editor of La Repubblica, in a tweet.


La Stampa newspaper says there is now a profound risk of anti-EU contagion, with anti-Brussels sentiments spreading around the continent.

A recent poll found that 48 per cent of Italians would leave the EU if given the chance to vote in their own referendum. "The United Kingdom has spoken. And its voice is being heard by the whole world," the daily says in an analysis piece this morning.


The Gibraltar Chronicle reports that the British territory voted overwhelmingly to remain in the EU, with Gibraltarians fearing that Brexit will antagonise already testy relations with Spain.

"Gibraltar voted by 19,322 votes to 823 to stay in the EU, meaning 96% of the electorate chose Remain," the newspaper says this morning. Turnout was high, at 84 per cent. Chief Minister Fabian Picardo said: "This result demonstrates that the will of the people of Gibraltar is overwhelming to remain a part of the European Union. Gibraltar and the Gibraltarians, perhaps more so than many others have ‘skin in the game’ of staying a part of Europe. Europe matters to us and we demonstrate that tonight.” So the overall vote to leave the EU will come as a bitter blow to the British territory.



France's Le Monde reports that Britons have voted for Brexit:



Australian broadcaster 9 News is leading with a quote from Ukip leader Nigel Farage: "'Independence day'": Britain votes to leave the European Union."


Friday's international front pages

This is what newspapers around the world wrote before the votes were counted.

El Mundo

The Spanish newspaper reports that Europe is holding the biggest breath in its recent history:


El Pais

The Spanish newspaper argues that the British referendum will force to rebuild the European Union:


Corriere della Sera

The Italian newspaper jumps the gun and declares that the UK will vote to remain in Europe as it quotes a poll predicting 52% victory for the In vote.

Meanwhile left-newspaper l'Unità says: "God save the Queen. And Europe."


Il Giornale

Right-leaning Il Giornale declares that half of Europe wants to leave the EU and add that the founder of populist Five Star Movement has changed his mind and now "wants to stay."


Sydney Morning Herald

Brexit prominent on the Australian newspaper's front page with the headline: "Anarchy in the UK?" The paper reports that markets are bracing for turmoil as votes are counted.


The Australian

The newspapers splashes that "Britain's future is on a knife edge" and comments "campaign of hysteria rests on threat and paradox."


The Wall Street Journal (European edition)

EU referendum prominent on the European edition of The Wall Street Journal:


New Zealand Herald

The Kiwi newspaper calls Brexit a "cliffhanger" on its front page:


Friday's latest edition front pages

The Telegraph's fifth edition


The Daily Mail's Scottish edition


The Daily Mirror


The Sun


The Times

The Times has changed its front page quite drastically since first edition following early results.

From "Closest call for Britain" the paper's splash has changed to "Britain's Brexit revolt."


The Independent


The Financial Times


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