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EU Tells Britain to Get Out Now

  • Luis Ramirez
  • Ken Schwartz

German Chancellor Angela Merkel, right, talks with Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble prior to a debate about the British vote to leave the EU, in Berlin, June 28, 2016.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel, right, talks with Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble prior to a debate about the British vote to leave the EU, in Berlin, June 28, 2016.

Tuesday was another awkward day for Britain as Prime Minister David Cameron met with European Union leaders in Brussels for the first time since British voters chose to quit the EU.

Cameron was expected to face tough questions on exactly when and how Britain plans to start divorce proceedings.

"I want the U.K. to clarify its position. Not today, not tomorrow at 9 a.m., but soon," EU Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker told an EU parliament emergency meeting Tuesday.

European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker, right, greets British Prime Minister David Cameron prior to a meeting at EU headquarters in Brussels on June 28, 2016.

European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker, right, greets British Prime Minister David Cameron prior to a meeting at EU headquarters in Brussels on June 28, 2016.

But British leaders appear to be in no hurry to start the process. Cameron, who has already said he will resign because of the Brexit vote, has made it clear it will be his successor, not he, who will initiate the disengagement by invoking Article 50 of the Lisbon treaty on a negotiated departure.

That may not happen until September at the earliest.

But France and other EU members fear the longer Britain waits, the more economic damage could occur. Brexit has already shaken markets around the world, and Juncker said Tuesday, "We cannot allow ourselves to remain in a prolonged period of uncertainty."

Related report: "Britain's Cameron Hopes for 'Constructive' EU Talks"

Meanwhile, fallout from Brexit plunged Britain into deeper political turmoil Tuesday. Labour Party lawmakers delivered a no-confidence vote to opposition leader Jeremy Corbyn, accusing him of leading a lackluster fight against the movement to leave the European Union. Corbyn says he will not step down.

That sets up a power struggle in both parties as Britain is faced with tough decisions on how to leave the EU.

Leaders of the leave movement are demanding Britain still get tariff-free trade with the rest of the EU, just like Norway, a non-EU member, enjoys.

Some EU lawmakers are upset by the British demand, including German Chancellor Angela Merkel.

Vote Leave campaign leader, Boris Johnson, leaves his home in London, Britain, June 27, 2016.

Vote Leave campaign leader, Boris Johnson, leaves his home in London, Britain, June 27, 2016.

She warns Britain against what she calls cherry picking, saying, "If you want to exit and leave this family, then you cannot expect to drop obligations and have privileges continue."

U.S. President Barack Obama says he does not anticipate "major cataclysmic changes" coming out of Britain's decision to leave the EU.

"There's been a little bit of hysteria ... as if somehow NATO's gone, the trans-Atlantic alliance is dissolving, and every country is rushing off to its own corner," Obama told National Public Radio on Tuesday.

He said the Brexit vote is a "pause button" for European integration as countries "take a breath" to think about how to keep their national identities, preserve the benefits of integration, and deal with voter frustrations.

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