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Estonian Government on the British Referendum: British ‘No’ to EU is a Great Loss

24. June 2016 - 9:32

Stenbock House, 24 June 2016 - Prime Minister Taavi Rõivas and Minister of Foreign Affairs Marina Kaljurand expressed their regrets over the Brits’ decision to vote for leaving the European Union in yesterday’s referendum.

“Of course we respect the democratic choice of the Brits, but this doesn’t change the fact that their decision to leave the European Union is a disappointment. We must draw our conclusions for the whole of Europe from the British referendum and work hard so that we do not lose the unity of the European Union. The unity of the West and our ability to act together is important for all of us,” Prime Minister Rõivas said.

“It is important for us that the strong relationship between the EU and the UK should continue, and we do not want the referendum to be followed by a long period of political uncertainty and economic instability,” he explained.

Minister of Foreign Affairs Kaljurand stressed on that the result of the referendum does not change anything overnight for the citizens of Estonia who are staying in, or planning to travel to, Great Britain. The United Kingdom will remain a member of the European Union until a possible application to leave is submitted and the exit process carried out, ending in a departure treaty.

“A final exit from the European Union is likely to take several years, and the determination of future relationships even longer. The referendum has no impact on the membership of the British in other organisations, including their contribution to the security of Estonia as a member of NATO,” the Minister of Foreign Affairs added.

Prime Minister Rõivas said the economic risks resulting from the referendum need to be minimised. “The institutions of the European Union and the United Kingdom must do everything needed to stabilise the situation and to minimise the economic impact for the states, economies and financial institutions of the Eurozone,” said the Prime Minister.