Here is what the EU leaders had to say about Brexit


European leaders reacted to the news that the UK has voted to leave the European Union.

The UK should implement Brexit "as soon as possible, however painful that process may be", senior EU representatives have said, warning that "any delay would unnecessarily prolong uncertainty".

Here is what some of those individual leaders had to say in quotes.

French president, Francois Hollande:

"The British people have decided to leave. It is a sad decision but one which I respect."

German chancellor, Angela Merkel:

"Drawing any hasty or easy conclusions from the referendum in Britain would only divide Europe further."

French National Front leader, Marine Le Pen:

Marine Le Pen
(Kamil Zihnioglu/AP)

"Victory for freedom! As I have been asking for years, we must now have the same referendum in France and EU countries."

President of the European Council, Donald Tusk:

"There's no hiding the fact that we wanted a different outcome of the referendum. I am fully aware of how serious or even dramatic this moment is politically."

Former Finnish prime minister, Alexander Stubb:

"Please tell me I'm still sleeping and this is all just a bad nightmare!"

Scottish first minister, Nicola Sturgeon:

Nicola Sturgeon
(Andrew Milligan/PA)

"As things stand, Scotland faces the prospect of being taken out of the EU against our will. I regard that as democratically unacceptable."

Dutch prime minister, Mark Rutte:

"The result of the British referendum is disappointing. We must now, step by step, find a lasting solution."

First minister of Northern Ireland, Arlene Foster:

"I think we are now entering a new era of an even stronger United Kingdom."

German foreign minister, Frank-Walter Steinmeier:

Frank-Walter Steinmeier
(Mindaugas Kulbis/AP)

"The early morning news from Great Britain are truly sobering. It looks like a sad day for Europe."

Acting Spanish prime minister, Mariano Rajoy:

"I'd like to emphasize on this, the legal situation between the European Union and the United Kingdom won't change at all."

Italian prime minister, Matteo Renzi:

We have to change (the EU) to make it more human and more just, but Europe is our home, it's our future."