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BRICS react cautiously to Brexit
June 24, 2016, 1:19 pm

Former London Mayor and "Vote Leave" campaigner Boris Johnson (C) speaks during a press conference in London, Britain, June 24, 2016 [Xinhua]

Former London Mayor and “Vote Leave” campaigner Boris Johnson (C) speaks during a press conference in London, Britain, June 24, 2016 [Xinhua]

After Britain voted to leave the 28-member European Union, members of the BRICS reacted with caution on Friday.

China’s Foreign Ministry said Britain’s choice to exit the EU will have significant ramifications, although China is still keen to strengthen its ties with the UK.

“The impact will be on all levels, not only on China-Britain relations. As to what kind of impact there will be, I believe all sides will calmly and conscientiously assess this,” Hua Chunying, spokesperson of the Foreign Ministry said in Beijing.

“China supports the European integration process and would like to see Europe playing a positive role in international affairs. We have full confidence in the prospects for the development of China-EU ties,” she added.

Beijing’s cautionary note came as other euro-sceptic leaders in the European Union called for their countries to follow suit.

The National Front is leading calls for France to follow the UK in offering its citizens a ballot on whether to stay in the EU. Dutch anti-immigration leader Geert Wilders also said Netherlands must “get the opportunity to have their say about Dutch membership of the European Union”

South Africa on Friday said it remains “committed to retaining strong trade and financial relations with both Britain and the European Union”.

“Our banks and financial institutions are well positioned to withstand financial shocks to the system as demonstrated in previous episodes including the 2008/09 global financial crisis. We are therefore confident that our financial system including the banks and the regulatory framework are extremely resilient and reliable,” South African President Jacob Zuma said.

“In this context, our ongoing efforts as South Africans, government, business, labour and civil society to reignite growth become that much more urgent and critical,” the statement added.

Russian President Vladimir Putin, who is attending the SCO Summit in Tashkent, said the issue of migration has acutely impacted European politics.

“I think it’s comprehensible why this happened: first, no one wants to feed and subsidize poorer economies, to support other states, support entire nations,” Putin said.

“Apparently the British people are not satisfied with the way problems are being solved in the security sphere, these problems have become more acute lately with the migration processes,” he added.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel said she has invited the leaders of France and Italy as well as the European Council president to Berlin on Monday to discuss the fallout of Britain’s decision.

French President Francois Hollande said preparations for the UK’s exit from the European Union should get started so the bloc’s remaining members can work on reforms to tackle the rise of populism.

“The U.K. will no longer be a member of the EU and the procedures written in the treaties should be implemented quickly,” Hollande said on Friday.

 

TBP and Agencies

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