Following the beginning of David Cameron’s long resignation, which could push Britain starting the process of leaving the European Union (EU) back to the winter, EU figures have called for ‘Brexit’ to be brought forward.
Far from their position of earlier this week where European leaders were desperately trying to keep Britain in the EU, now that it has had a successful ‘Brexit’ vote it seems the Union can’t move fast enough to get the truculent country out.
Speaking to German weekend newspaper the Bild Am Sonntag, the German born president of the European Parliament Martin Schulz said delaying Britain leaving the EU would only create uncertainty, and consequently it would “lead to even more insecurity and endanger jobs”.
One of Europe’s so-called seven presidents, Mr. Schulz blamed British internal politics for the apparent delay in enacting what the people had voted for, and said: “Hesitating simply to accommodate the party tactics of the British conservatives hurts everyone”.
British Prime Minister David Cameron, who reduced himself to a caretaker role on Friday morning by announcing his pending resignation and kicking off a three month leadership battle, will be visiting the EU in Brussels on Tuesday to brief leaders from around the continent on the Brexit situation over dinner.
On Mr. Cameron’s impending visit, Mr. Schulz said: “…we expect the British government to deliver. The summit on Tuesday is the right time”.
Mr. Schulz’s criticism was joined by remarks by the leader of the European People’s Party, an EU parliamentary group that the British Conservatives were members of until 2009. Manfred Weber said: “The start of the waiting game in London is unacceptable” and stated that he wanted to see Brexit completed “within the planned period of two years, or even better within one year”.
Other European leaders agree with Mr. Schulz, as well. Speaking at a meeting of the EU’s six founding nations in Berlin, French Foreign Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault said: “There is a certain urgency…so that we don’t have a period of uncertainty, with financial consequences, political consequences”.
Legally, there is little the EU can do to force Britain’s hand, since Article 50 must be triggered by the country that is leaving. But political pressure and economic instability may force British politicians to act more quickly than they had hoped.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel struck a conciliatory note, saying it “shouldn’t take forever” for Britain to deliver its formal notification of leaving.
“There is no need to be particularly nasty in any way in the negotiations. They must be conducted properly,” Ms. Merkel said at a news conference in Potsdam, outside Berlin.
The Associated Press Contributed To This Story