United Kingdom broadcasters are projecting British voters have decided to leave the 28-nation European Union.
With 329 of 382 counting centers reporting results, the “leave” side is ahead by over 900,000 votes.
The results of Britain’s vote Thursday will seriously hurt the continental unity forged after World War II. The U.K. is the first major country to decide to leave the bloc, which evolved from the ashes of war as the region’s leaders sought to build links and avert future hostility.
The British pound has tumbled to a 31-year low as the results of the vote spook global markets.
President Barack Obama says the United States respects the decision of the people of the United Kingdom to leave the European Union and that the special relationship between Washington and London will endure.
Obama had strongly urged that the UK remain in the EU but said in a statement that the people have spoken. The president said that the United Kingdom and the European Union will remain “indispensable partners of the United States” even as they begin negotiating the future of their relationship.\
The president of the European Council says the bloc is ready for quick talks on Britain’s exit, but that all EU regulations will apply to the nation until it fully leaves.
Donald Tusk said on Polish TVN24 Friday that “all laws and rules will apply as long as Britain is an EU member, and that will be years from now.”
The former Polish prime minister estimated the process will take about two years, after which Britain will be under its own laws and can seek to tighten immigration regulations.
He said he doesn’t expect the current or future British government to procrastinate over the opening of talks on a decision made by the nation.