Brexit Update: EU Leaders Ask Britain to Leave Swiftly

EU Leaders
UK Referendum: European Parliament debate on outcome and consequences © European Union 2016 - EP

The leaders of the European Union (EU) told Britain to act swiftly to end the economic and political instability created by the result of the Brexit referendum.

The British people voted to leave EU last week, which prompted the resignation of Prime Minster David Cameron and triggered a market selloff—wiping off $3 trillion in the value of global shares.

The International Monetary Fund (IMF) warned that Britain’s decision to withdraw its membership could have a negative impact on the global economic growth. Policymakers vowed to take all necessary actions to protect their economies. U.S. Federal Reserve will reduce interest rates instead of increasing this year.

European leaders concerned of the impact of Brexit

The leaders of countries in Europe are concerned about the impact of the Brexit. They are uncertain as to when the United Kingdom would formally declare its intention to leave the EU.

President Francois Hollande of France said the United Kingdom must begin the process of leaving the EU “as soon as possible.” He said, “I can’t imagine any British government would not respect the choice of its own people.”

European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker shared the same sentiment, but he is not expecting Britain to take an immediate action. He told the European Parliament, “We cannot be embroiled in lasting uncertainty. I would like our British friends to tell us what they want, so we can get on with it.”

When British Prime Minister Cameron arrived at the EU summit, he said, “I’ll be explaining that Britain will be leaving the European Union but I want that process to be as constructive as possible, and I hope the outcome can be as constructive as possible.”

EU President Donald Tusk told Cameron at their meeting in Belgium, “Europe is ready to start the divorce process, even today, without any enthusiasm as you can imagine.”

On the other hand, German Chancellor Angela Merkel stated in Berlin before the EU summit that “there will be no formal or informal talks about Britain’s exit.”

Merkel also stated that Britain cannot “cherry-pick” parts of the EU during the exit negotiations such as getting access to the region’s single market without accepting its principles including the freedom of movement.

“I can only advise our British friends not to fool themselves … in terms of the necessary decisions that need to be made in Britain,” said Merkel.

The Ministers of the European Parliament (MEPs) issued a statement calling for a swift Brexit to prevent uncertaint and for deep EU reform. They said, “To prevent damaging uncertainty for everyone and to protect the Union’s integrity, the UK Prime Minister should notify the outcome of the referendum to the European Council of 28-29 June, in order to launch the withdrawal procedure and negotiations as soon as possible.”

Political uncertainty in Britain

During a dinner on Tuesday night, EU lawmakers asked Cameron to begin the exit process. An EU official said that was unrealistic because of the current political uncertainty in Britain.

The leader of the opposition Labour Party Jeremy Corbyn rejected calls for his resignation after losing a vote of confidence. Labour Party MPs (172) voted against while 40 supported him.

Corbyn said, I was democratically elected leader of our party for a new kind of politics by 60% of Labour members and supporters, and I will not betray them by resigning. Today’s vote by MPs has no constitutional legitimacy.”

IMF Deputy Managing Director Zhu Min said the Brexit created a huge political uncertainty and reiterated that it will put pressure on the global growth, during the World Economic Forum in Tianjin, China on Tuesday.

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry encouraged the leadership of the UK and EU to manage their impending separation responsibly. According to him, handling the Brexit responsibly will help the “marketplace understand that there are ways to minimize disruption” and “to protect the values and interest we share.”