25 Jun 2016

EU push to remove UK immediately

8:55 pm on 25 June 2016

Brexit - The six founding members of the European Union are meeting in Berlin in response to Britain's vote to leave the bloc.

President of the European Commission Jean Claude-Juncker speaks to media after consultations over Britain's EU referendum at Commission headquarters in Brussels.

President of the European Commission Jean Claude-Juncker speaks to media after consultations over Britain's EU referendum at Commission headquarters in Brussels. Photo: AFP

The foreign ministers of Germany, France, Italy, Belgium, Luxembourg and the Netherlands were expected to consider how to deter other countries from following Britain's example.

See full coverage of yesterday's vote

The German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Francois Hollande were leading calls for urgent EU reform, to survive Britain's exit and to ensure the union's continued survival.

They would discuss ways to dissuade other countries from following the UK in leaving the union, the BBC reported.

There was also much talk behind the scenes about how quickly the split could be achieved, with some member states reportedly wanting to remove Britain as soon as possible and before incumbent British Prime Minister David Cameron is replaced.

The President of the European Commission, Jean-Claude Juncker, said he wanted to start negotiations on Britain's exit from the EU immediately.

German foreign minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier said the EU must not fall into "depression and paralysis".

Mr Cameron announced after the referendum result yesterday that he would be stepping down before October. Pro-Leave MP Boris Johnson, London's former mayor, is tipped as favourite to replace him.

Economic fallout continues

Britain also had its credit rating outlook downgraded from stable to negative by ratings agency Moody's after the Brexit vote.

Moody's said the referendum result would herald a prolonged period of uncertainty.

It said, in its view, the negative effect from lower economic growth would outweigh the fiscal savings from Britain no longer having to contribute to the EU budget.

It also said Britain had one of the largest budget deficits among advanced economies.

Another ratings agency, Standard and Poor's, said yesterday Britain's AAA rating was "no longer tenable" after the vote.

There was also some speculation today that Britain's opposition Labour party could also see a leadership spill.

Leader Jeremy Corbyn was being blamed for heading a lacklustre campaign to remain in the European Union that failed to convince Labour voters in its heartlands.

One of two MPs to table a no-confidence motion in Mr Corbyn, Margaret Hodge, said he had failed to get a clear message across to voters.

However, Mr Corbyn said he would be carrying on and leading the fight to protect working class families, who he believed would be hardest hit by the move.

"Clearly there are some very difficult days ahead, the value of the pound has already fallen and there will be job consequences [for working class families] as a result of this decision."

Obama attempts to reassure over US relationships

United States president Barack Obama said he had spoken to Mr Cameron, and that the US and UK would continue to enjoy good relations.

"I do think that yesterday's vote speaks to the ongoing changes and challenges that are raised by globalisation - but while the UK's relationship with the EU will change, one thing that will not change is the special relationship that exists between our two nations. That will endure."

He also said the EU would remain one of the indispensable partners of the US.

Mr Obama said he was sure Britain's exit would be orderly and vowed that the United States and Britain would "stay focused on ensuring economic growth and financial stability."

- Reuters / BBC

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