EU Ambassador David O'Sullivan Reacts to Brexit

ABC News' Alex Mallin interviews EU Ambassador David O'Sullivan on how Brexit will impact the global economy.
15:09 | 06/24/16

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Transcript for EU Ambassador David O'Sullivan Reacts to Brexit
I everybody this is Alex mound with ABC news and I'm here with you ambassador to the US David O'Sullivan. Hamburgers topped through some in news over the past 24 hours obviously been a pretty turbulent time for you and and in the UEU itself. He's gonna walk me through what does this mean. For the future of the EU. And in for the future of of Great Britain. Well I as everyone now knows we have a clear result from this referendum the people of the United Kingdom decided to leave the European Union. We of course regret this. Disappointing evening we hope the result would be different but this is democracy the people of Britain has spoken and we respect this. In practical terms. Waking up this morning nothing immediately changes. This is a process which will take a couple of years to complete. The formal procedures in the United Kingdom now has to apply to leave the European Union under article fifty of the treaty. And there's a period of two years was seen to negotiate the separation and create this new relationships that's where we Stan as of today. That statement this morning from the European council and other. Leaders were saying that basically. Britain get out now get out as soon as possible and we mean so we can move on with business as usual. And set things straight so and but we've also heard their reactions saying that they are our urban essential twenties when he. What's your reaction to that can they can they stay. Well I don't think that's the correct interpretation of what the presence of the institution said they simply said we note that the British have decided to leave we respect that decision. We should try and do this as quickly as possible I mean for the business world. We are now moving into a period of uncertainty which is frankly an off healthy so. We need above all else to create a situation of greater certainty by moving quickly and expeditiously to negotiate. The separation. Of the of the UK and that's the spirit in which that this. Declaration was was made pat. What this means for the United Kingdom Italy before for them to decide in terms of the new relationship which we've they will want to forged with the the the European Union after leaving. And for the European Union I wouldn't say it's business as usual but we have many challenges. And we intend to continue with the process of managing many of those challenges at European level of course. The European. Union is a work in progress it continuously adapts and changes to face new challenges situations whether that's the Euro crisis. The refugee. Asylum crisis. So we will probably also be listening to our citizens and some of the things that they are saying about the European Union how we can make it work better and and more for their service. And we've actually heard some voters and said the UK now expressing regrets saying that. They weren't actually Wear their vote counted in the in the if they were surprised by the results just as much as everybody else wasn't and hoping to take effect is there any way back. For the UK right now can we can this be reversed I'm not aware of any way wish this can be reversed I understand that in in in UK terms this Wednesday. Referendum which was intended to settle this issue for once and for role if he's not in itself. Something which changes the legal situation but I think any British government is now bound by this decision of that the British people and they will proceed. As we understand it with their withdrawal from from the European Union's of certainly. I think the rest of us are not imagining for one moment that this can be reversed or changed at this. Point is this kind of and I told you so moment for the EU kind of saying you know he warned of what would happen with the bricks it. And and now they're dealing with the consequences embracing markets be delivered royals across the world I mean who will what is this kind of mean. Well I don't think there's any self satisfaction on the part of the rest of us indeed say there's actually great sadness we. We cherish all member states in the UK was a valued member of the European Union we would wish that they say that was the sentiment we were expressing in the run up to this referendum. But now that they have decided that they they say they want to leave they will obviously have to take the consequences of that and it is going to be complicated to figure out what that relationship. Trading relationship commercial relationship what's the relationship of financial services. Freedom movement of people they're going to be some some difficult issues and being outside the European Union is very different from being inside the European Union and indeed this will have consequences for. The economy and the commercial future of the United Kingdom has improved for the rest of us. And this is being really described as a seismic event that's having shockwaves across the world but for the history ever for the future of the EU is this I mean he was formed. Right after work suit and a bring these countries together this is an exit it is this. He weakest that the EU has been since the wake of what we're too. All know I think you're right that the European Union has come an awful long way since the the difficult days of of post World War II Europe when we decided to find a different way of doing business in Europe we've started the six countries now we're 28. OK we go back to being 27 I think the European Union is bigger. Than any one member states so while we greatly regret the departure of the United Kingdom I think the 27. Members of the European Union will continue. To believe that this is the best way we can ensure the prosperity in the security of our people while maintaining. A large degree of independence and sovereignty for individual member member states says as everyone believes but. I repeat this is a work in progress and I'm sure. We are not saying nothing can change in the future and there may even be debates about ways in which we can perform better four or provide better service to our citizens. The United Kingdom has decided which is to go it's own way. And we will have to figure out the best relationship between. The United Kingdom and the European Union and going forward four commercial intriguing reasons but I in the UK will remain important partner a member of NATO and ally. So we're gonna have good neighborly relations but it will be different in the future that it has been until now. And as for those 27 member states that are left right now I mean this this referendum I mean is this something that you could see. Other states and would you encourage. These other traits of member states to have their own reference gives them give the people a choice of for themselves I mean all of these foreigner in fifty to 500 million people. I'm should they also have say as to whether their states remain in the EU. Well the the European Union is a fundamentally democratic. Structure. All the member states who are party to it have democratic systems at their membership has been decided frequently through referenda. It we've had referenda. In many countries over the years so it's for each country to decide whether the way they. Make their political decisions by referendum or by representative democracy elections. Parliaments and governments. The important thing is that. When people come to Brussels they do so it was a strong mandate from their electorate. And that they are in power to take decisions on behalf of their people and I think this is. The way in which the European Union works its imperfect. And people are sometimes very critical. And we understand that we are sometimes critical ourselves of the way the European Union works. But I continue to believe that it is delivered very important results were people in terms of prosperity security well being one of the largest trading blocs in the world. These are many advantages which I believe our citizens who wish to retain in the future. And there's been talk of the political parallels of the debate that was going on before. That the regs that voting and how kind of relates to politics back here in the US and we actually saw Donald Trump went in Scotland today and praised delete movement. And say that it was basically the people taking control. Back for themselves what do you we think about that argument. I think that the United Kingdom has always had control of its own destiny. The United Kingdom is not a part of you wrote the United Kingdom was not part of fishing and three movement and free travel area. And today the the the United Kingdom has been able to take a sovereign decision to leave the European Union it could do that at any time. So I think all our member states ultimately remain sovereign over their own futures. The question is does the exercise of that sovereignty you view of that your old old old. More or less good future and the U. Other member states continued to believe that by putting our sovereignty and working together we get better outcomes than we get Quinn acting as individual countries. As an EU ambassador to the US though when you hear that language from Donald Trump you know prospective nominee of the GOP in. Potential future US present. Does that concerning to you at all about it you know what his relationship would be like with the U I don't comment on domestic election politics here in the United States you have you have an election going on many things having said in the context of that election. We wait to see who the American people with chooses the president and we will work with the next administration to strengthen the transatlantic alliance which has been at the core. Of our prosperity and security. Since the the end of the Second World War and we believe that we will work closely with whomever. The United States choose as an actress and. Some critics of the you have some have slammed them for their reaction to decrease account economic crisis. How it handled the refugee crisis and how it's kind of handled the spread. Of terrorism within the borders of the the met EU member states it is the breaks it vote kind of what does that really signifies this is this a critical blow to the future of the U. I don't think so I I think the situation in the United Kingdom is relatively specific. The United Kingdom as always. Had some hesitation. Always been a slightly reluctant member of the European Union. Two years after they joined in 1973 they felt the need to have a referendum already then to check whether this was really what they should have done they decided at that time to remain. So I don't think it's completely surprising that in the United Kingdom they have they have had this debate and and ultimately reached this decision. I think the situation elsewhere in the European Union is quite different. And many of our member states nineteen of them share common currency. Many are parked to the king and free travel and border of the struggle area. There. Commitment to the European Union is very deep and we are deeply integrated commercially. Economically. In political terms. And I think whatever the problems and when there are problems and there are failings and weaknesses in in in Europe's reaction to those crises that you mention. Ultimately. That we are stronger together we get better outcomes from our people when we pooled sovereignty and we cooperate than when we try to go our separate ways. Twice in the last century we know what happens when our individual nation states tried to go their separate ways we produce two world wars in the Holocaust. We would never wish to repeat that again and. As for you know and you have any comment on the election and politics right now but but for asked for you know what you're hoping for from an ex president and that it nine specific person in terms of policy. What do you hope to hear from you know than the aspiring prison or next president from the US when he or she comes into office. You know reunify the you're what's the message that you hope to hear from them to get defects work on this. Well you know the transit and economic corridor is the most important economic corridor in the world bar none. We are more heavily invested in each other US in the EU and the US the EU in the US than either of us so with any other trading partner. The transatlantic security lines is absolutely at the core of of global stability. We are allies in the battle against terrorism and against I so. Have we want to hear from the next administration that they want to continue that close. Transatlantic relationship across a wide range of issues. Where we work together to produce better outcomes for our citizens and I'm absolutely certain Vice President Biden said it was who's in Dublin today. Said last year that the we are each other's friends at best trends of first resort. And we believe that with the next administration that kind of close connection we'll continue. And this is being framed I mean across across the globe is. A revolt against the establishment. I mean Donald Trump said that and they don't talk about him but. At the same time do you see the EU is establishment what would argument he makes other member states members merit member states. Not to fall this kind of same path and how you frame the EU not us some establishment figure that needs to be overthrown. You know the EU does not belong to me or to the institution in Brussels that you belongs to the member states and the European Union we have is the product of what our. People aren't our governments of our member states decided to create. The institutions work on their behalf and tried to implement the policies they've said they want to they want to achieve. So I think. The the question really I put back in the opposite direction which is if people feel that Europe is not necessarily working up to many for them. Let them come forward with a ways in which they would like to do it differently and I absolutely certain. The institutions in Brussels the other member states will be willing to listen and see if there are ways in which we can we can do better. So it's not a question of the EU having to persuade people that the EU belongs to the people. And we've seen today the democratic decision of the British people shows that you can decided to leave if you want. I'm not sure that is the best thing for the part for the United Kingdom or for the European Union but. If people want to take that decision they can't ultimately. The greatest common value we have in Europe is democracy and the right of people to decide their their own future this is one example today. At but I believe that we will continue for the for the other members of the European Union to work together. To produce and continued good outcomes that we've managed to achieve over the last six years. In just for you know are American audience right now they're waking up to headlines in the waking up to see the Dow's dropping 500 points but. How do you see the effects of this coming from to them in the next five days five months in five years. Well I I I guess I wouldn't want to go McPhee on the next five days frankly but. I think the that the big. Challenge of the present situation is on second and I think we have to be honest that the present situation produces a climate of uncertainty which as we all know. Is really damaging for businesses businesses. In say we can live with and you just tell us what the rules are and how we're supposed to be name and then we can cope with so unfortunately. The nature of this exercise. He's going to be great uncertainty and probably for a period more than five days but for several months or maybe even seven a year or so. On two we figure out what this new relationship looks like. That's why to answer your your question are there. The presence of the institutions cold on the night asking him to move as quickly as they they cat and we understand that the politics would be difficult in the next few weeks in the UK but as quickly as they can. To be clear about what they want. So that we can then go forward. Move to give effect to the political decision yesterday create a new relationship and they can get on with with with their future and and the and the European Union with its with its own future. April master that you for talking doses. EU ambassador to the US David O'Sullivan. I'm outs mound with ABC news it joining us.

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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