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Brussels Demands Immediate 'Brexit' Negotiations to Limit Fallout

by Henry Ridgwell June 24, 2016

After the global shock caused by Britain's vote to leave the European Union, EU officials in Brussels are scrambling to contain the economic and political damage.

Some analysts have questioned the future of the EU itself now that it is set to lose one of its biggest political and economic powers. The leaders of the EU's institutions issued a robust joint response Friday, however, promising to stand strong and protect the well-being of Europe's people.

In pointed remarks to the news media, EU Council President Donald Tusk said the remaining 27 nations must come together.

"Today, on behalf of the 27 leaders, I can say that we are determined to keep our unity as 27. For all of us, the union is the framework for our common future," said Tusk.

His counterpart at the European Parliament, Martin Schulz, demanded an immediate start to negotiations on Britain's withdrawal.

Protecting the eurozone

"The member states who remain in the EU must discuss how to improve the EU and how to protect, especially the eurozone countries, how to protect the eurozone in the next coming months," said Schulz.

The European Central Bank and the Bank of England have said they will do everything in their power to restore stability. Economist Gregory Claeys of the Bruegel Institute doesn't expect the market volatility to be long-term.

"Together in fact they should be able to take care of the situation. The situation is not as bad as for example the one we had in 2008 and 2009, because the financial sector is in a much better situation," said Claeys.

It is the longer term political damage to the European Union that some fear could prove fatal. Anti-EU parties in the Netherlands and Italy already have demanded their own referendums.

For now, the British flag flies alongside those of its EU allies, but after 43 years, the countdown has begun to Britain's exit – a seismic shift in the geopolitical order of Europe.

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