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    Russian Envoy to EU Warns of Possible European 'Disintegration' After Brexit

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    The United Kingdom’s departure from the European Union could be the first step toward a less integrated Europe, Russian ambassador to the bloc Vladimir Chizhov warned on Wednesday.

    MOSCOW (Sputnik) — Less than a week after the European Union's 60th birthday, Britain has finally invoked Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty in a letter to European Council President Donald Tusk, starting a two-year countdown to its withdrawal.

    "In all of its 60-year history, the process of European integration has never been a direct road, rather a twisting path with different speeds and occasional stops. But, until today, this process had never been reversed. This may as well be a start of European ‘disintegration’," Chizhov told Rossiya-24 TV channel.

    His words were echoed by French Foreign Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault who said Brexit "lifts the taboo" on leaving from the European Union. In their turn, EU leaders issued a joint statement where they vowed to act as one during exit talks with London.

    The United Kingdom held a referendum last June and decided to leave the European Union: 51.9% of the voters supported the move and 48.1% opposed it.

    Britons that still approve the Brexit vote result stand at 44 percent, just slightly above the 43 percent of respondents who regret the decision to leave the European Union, a YouGov poll indicated.

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    European Union, disintegration, Vladimir Chizhov, United Kingdom
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