Berlin: German Chancellor Angela Merkel on Friday warned EU member states against drawing hasty conclusions about Britain's decision to quit the bloc, as that risked further splitting Europe.
"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," she said.
But "what the consequences of this would be... would depend on whether we -- the other 27 member states of the EU -- prove to be willing and able to not draw quick and simple conclusions from the referendum in Great Britain, which would only further divide Europe," said Merkel.
Member states should "calmly and prudently analyse and evaluate the situation, before making the right decisions together," said Merkel, who will host talks with French President Francois Hollande, Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi and European Council president Donald Tusk in Berlin on Monday.
Recalling the founding aim of the EU, Merkel urged Europeans to "never forget that the idea of European unity was an idea of peace."
Britain to continue in EU for two more years
European Union leaders say that Britain will remain a member of the bloc until its exit negotiations are concluded, which probably means at least two years longer.
The leaders of the EU's institutions said Friday that "until this process of negotiations is over, the United Kingdom remains a member of the European Union, with all the rights and obligations that derive from this."
They said in a statement that under the bloc's treaties "EU law continues to apply to the full to and in the United Kingdom until it is no longer a member."
The statement was signed by European Council President Donald Tusk, European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker, European Parliament President Martin Schulz and Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte, whose country currently holds the EU's rotating presidency....