International reaction to the ‘Leave’ vote was rapid, with the European Union issuing a joint statement from the Presidents of the European Commission, Jean-Claude Juncker, the European Council, Donald Tusk, and European Parliament, Martin Schulz, together with Mark Rutte, the Prime Minister of The Netherlands. It read: “We now expect the United Kingdom government to give effect to this decision of the British people as soon as possible, however painful that process may be. Any delay would unnecessarily prolong uncertainty. “We hope to have the UK as a close partner of the EU also in the future.” Meanwhile, Angela Merkel, the Chancellor of Germany said: “We take note of the British people’s decision with regret. There is no doubt that this is a blow to Europe and to the European unification process.” President Obama commented: “The people of the United Kingdom have spoken, and we respect their decision. The special relationship between the United States and the United Kingdom is enduring, and the United Kingdom’s membership in NATO remains a vital cornerstone of U.S. foreign, security, and economic policy… The United Kingdom and the European Union will remain indispensable partners of the United States even as they begin negotiating their ongoing relationship to ensure continued stability, security, and prosperity for Europe, Great Britain and Northern Ireland, and the world.”