World leaders have reacted to Theresa May’s announcement that she is to step down as Prime Minister.
French President Emmanuel Macron has praised Theresa May’s “courageous work” on Brexit after the British prime minister announced her resignation.
“It’s too soon to speculate on the consequences of this decision”, Macron said, according to a statement from the French presidency. “France is ready to work with the new British prime minister on all European and bilateral issues.”
Macron sent May a personal message of support and appreciation, the statement said.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel noted “with respect” the decision, and said she will continue to work closely with her successor for an orderly Brexit.
Merkel’s spokeswoman, Martina Fietz, told reporters the chancellor and May always “worked together in a good and trusting” relationship and would continue to do so while May remains in office.
Looking ahead, Fietz says, “we, and the EU as a whole, are interested in a good solution being found in Britain” to the Brexit issue, and that means “an orderly exit.”
The German government would not speculate on May’s possible successor.
European Commission chief Jean-Claude Juncker says that he considers Mrs May as “a woman of courage for whom he has great respect.”
European Union spokeswoman Mina Andreeva said that Juncker watched May’s announcement that she will step down as Conservative Party leader on June 7 “with emotion” and added it was “without personal joy.”
She said Juncker will “equally respect and establish working relations” with May’s successor. Britain currently faces an Oct. 31 deadline to leave the EU.
French far-right leader Marine Le Pen has called on UK authorities to respect the verdict of the Brexit referendum and make the U.K. leave the European Union.
Le Pen, the leader of the anti-migrant, populist National Rally party, said Mrs May was forced to quit “because she tried to bypass the will expressed by the British in the Brexit referendum.”
She said that French politicians and media must not “teach morality lessons” to the British people who decided to leave the EU.
Polls suggest that Le Pen’s party will be among France’s top two vote-getters in the European parliament elections that are being held in the bloc until Sunday.
US President Donald Trump says he is “feeling badly” for Mrs May, and told reporters that “I like her very much.” Trump will meet with May in the UK early next month on a state visit to mark the D-Day anniversary.
Czech Prime Minister Andrej Babis said he hopes Britain will hold another referendum on leaving the European Union. Babis said: “I still hope that the [British] people finally understand that the misinformation that that they received [about Brexit] is not true and Britain will stay in the European Union.”
Spain’s caretaker government said Mrs May’s announcement is “bad news” because it will make a “hard Brexit,” more likely.
Spokeswoman Isabel Celaa said:“A hard Brexit is a reality that under the current circumstances is almost impossible to avoid.”