Merkel: No Brexit talks until UK invokes Article 50

German chancellor says UK must formally notify the EU of its intention to leave the bloc before negotiations can begin.

European leaders have said there can be no negotiations with Britain on the country’s departure from the European Union until London has formally declared its intention to quit the bloc.  

Germany, France and Italy are “united” in the face of British plans to leave the EU, and aim to set a “new impulse” for the bloc that will boost economic growth, security and competitiveness, German Chancellor Angela Merkel said on Monday.

There “will be no formal or informal talks” with Britain until Article 50 has been invoked, said Merkel at a news conference in Berlin shortly after meeting French President Francois Hollande and Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi.

OPINION: Brexit – Act in haste, repent at leisure?

“The reality is that a majority of British citizens voted to leave … so I await communication about Article 50 [the formal request for withdrawal] from the UK address to the EU,” said Merkel

“We can’t have a permanent impasse.”

Once the UK invokes Article 50 of the Treaty of Lisbon, it will have a two-year timetable to reach an exit deal. 

‘Will of the British people’

Britons cast aside warnings of isolation and economic disaster to vote 52 percent to 48 percent in favour of quitting the EU on Thursday.

The result sparked the resignation of Prime Minister David Cameron, who had backed the unsuccessful Remain campaign.

How will Brexit impact UK’s economy?

In his first address to the British parliament since the referendum, Prime Minister David Cameron said on Monday that he would leave the timing of Britain’s exit up to his successor.

“My view is simply, this house shouldn’t block the will of the British people to leave the European Union, but of course we’ve now got to look at all the detailed arrangements, and parliament will clearly have a role in that, in making sure that we find the best way forward. And that will principally by the job for the next government,” he said. 

Britain would not give formal notice “at this time,” as it must first “determine the kind of relationship we want with the EU”.

READ MORE: Poland ‘shocked’ by xenophobic abuse of Poles in UK

Europe’s leaders have recognised that “their hands are tied,” said Al Jazeera’s Jonah Hull. “They’ll have to wait until Britain officially gives notice… because only then can they work out the fabric of a negotiated settlement with Britain.”

Leading voices in the EU have called for immediate action to kick start Britain’s exit from the bloc, said Hull, “all too aware and afraid of Eurosceptic populations across the European Union who may take a look at Britain and go, ‘Well, if they can do it, we can do it'”.

“The longer a vacuum is allowed to persist, the longer those flames are fanned.”

Britain’s vote last week to leave the EU has shocked global financial markets. The British pound fell to a 30-year low just one day after the vote, a downward slide that has continued into Monday. 

European bank shares had their worst two-day fall on record over the weekend, and world stocks were on track for their worst two-day fall since the aftermath of the collapse of Lehman Brothers in late 2008.

Divided parties

While the ruling Conservative party searches for a new leader after Cameron’s resignation and MPs from the opposition Labour party step up a rebellion against their leader Jeremy Corbyn, Britain’s political and economic uncertainty has grown steadily worse. 

Former London mayor and leading Brexit proponent Boris Johnson tried to calm fears over the UK’s future trade ties with the EU in a Monday column in the Daily Telegraph newspaper, saying there would be continued free trade and access to the single market, something EU leaders have said is not a given. 

Johnson also suggested that Britain would not have to accept the free movement of workers, a nod to the many voters who chose “Leave” due to concerns over immigration. Single market rules, however, state that countries must accept the free movement of goods and people. 

The former mayor is expected soon to announce his candidacy to lead the Conservatives, a party that has been deeply divided for decades between pro- and anti-EU factions.

Divisions have also been on the rise within Corbyn’s Labour party. Nearly 20 Labour MPs have resigned over the past two days in protest of Corbyn’s leadership, saying his campaign to prevent Britain’s exit from the EU was weak. 

Thousands of Corbyn supporters marched on Parliament Square on Monday evening to support the party’s embattled leader. 

The rally corresponded with a Labour Party meeting at the parliament that included a vote of no confidence against Corbyn. Shortly after the vote, Corbyn exited the parliament to address the crowd, which police estimated to be about 10,000 strong. 

“Can we all agree we are going to unite together as one people, one society, one community, to oppose racism? he asked. “Don’t let the people who wish us ill divide us.”

Brexit rhetoric and the consequences of Project Fear

Source: News Agencies


More from News
Most Read