Last night, the people of the United Kingdom voted to leave the European Union. President Obama issued the following statement this morning:
"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. So too is our relationship with the European Union, which has done so much to promote stability, stimulate economic growth, and foster the spread of democratic values and ideals across the continent and beyond. 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."
President Obama spoke by phone with UK Prime Minister David Cameron and German Chancellor Angela Merkel. In his call with Prime Minister Cameron, the President assured him that, in spite of the outcome, the special relationship between the United States and the United Kingdom, along with the United Kingdom’s membership in NATO, remain vital cornerstones of U.S. foreign, security, and economic policy. The President also expressed his regret at the Prime Minister’s decision to step aside following a leadership transition and noted that the Prime Minister has been a trusted partner and friend, whose counsel and shared dedication to democratic values, the special relationship, and the Transatlantic community are highly valued. The President also observed that the EU, which has done so much to promote stability, stimulate economic growth, and foster the spread of democratic values and ideals across the continent and beyond, will remain an indispensable partner of the United States. The President and Prime Minister concurred that they are confident that the United Kingdom and the EU will negotiate a productive way forward to ensure financial stability, continued trade and investment, and the mutual prosperity they bring.
In his call with Chancellor Merkel, both leaders said they regretted the decision but respected the will of the British people. The two leaders agreed that the economic and financial teams of the G-7 partners will coordinate closely to ensure all are focused on financial stability and economic growth. The President and the Chancellor affirmed that Germany and the EU will remain indispensable partners of the United States. The leaders also noted that they looked forward to the opportunity to underscore the strength and enduring bond of transatlantic ties at the NATO Summit in Warsaw, Poland, July 8-9.
Secretary Jack Lew of the Treasury Department also issued a statement today:
"The people of the United Kingdom have spoken and we respect their decision. We will work closely with both London and Brussels and our international parterners to ensure continued economic stability, securtiy, and prosperity in Europe and beyond. We continue to monitor developments in financial markets. I have been in regular contact in recent weeks with my counterparts and financial market participants in the UK, EU and globally and we are continuing to consult closely. The UK and other policy makers have the tools necessary to support financial stability, which is key to economic growth."
Secretary Lew also joined the finance ministers of the G7 countries (Canada, France, Germany, Great Britain, Italy, Japan, and the U.S.) and Central Bank Governors in making the following statement:
We, G7 Ministers and Governors, respect the intention expressed today by the people of the United Kingdom to exit from the European Union.
We are monitoring market developments following the outcome of the referendum on the UK’s membership of the EU. We affirm our assessment that the UK economy and financial sector remain resilient and are confident that the UK authorities are well-positioned to address the consequences of the referendum outcome.
We recognize that excessive volatility and disorderly movements in exchange rates can have adverse implications for economic and financial stability.
G7 central banks have taken steps to ensure adequate liquidity and to support the functioning of markets. We stand ready to use the established liquidity instruments to that end.
We will continue to consult closely on market movements and financial stability, and cooperate as appropriate. We remain united and continue to maintain our solidarity as G7.