Monday 23 October 2017

Britain told to begin process of leaving EU as soon as possible

European Affairs Minister Dara Murphy
European Affairs Minister Dara Murphy
Philip Ryan

Philip Ryan

Britain has been told to begin the process of leaving the EU as soon as possible at a crunch meeting of member state ministers.

There was an unanimous call from ministers attending the specially convened General Affairs Council meeting in Luxembourg for Britain to “move quickly” after the country voted to leave the EU.

At what was described as a sombre meeting, ministers expressed their regret over the outcome of the British referendum but insisted negotiations on the UK leaving should not be delayed.

European Affairs Minister Dara Murphy said there was agreement among the members states that the process will begin as soon as possible.

“There was consensus among the 27 member states that this must move as quickly a possible, there must be clarity and the clear fact is that the UK is leaving the European Union and that issue will have to be addressed quickly,” Mr Murphy told Independent.ie.

Mr Murphy’s comments and the decision of the General Affairs Council was in contrast to Taoiseach Enda Kenny remarks earlier today when he called for “breathing space” after the Brexit vote.

Mr Kenny said negotiations will not begin until at least October and will take a “considerable amount of time”.

“In that regard, it is important to stress that Britain remains a member of the European Union until negotiations have been concluded. We must take this breathing space...and use it wisely,” he said.

The EU Treaty states that the responsibility for triggering the process for leaving lies with Britain.

However, Prime Minister David Cameron’s resignation in wake of the referendum defeat means the Conservative Party will have to elect a new leader to handle negotiations.

Boris Johnson, who headed the Leave campaign and is expected to contest the Tory leadership race, said Britain will not be rushing the leaving process.

"In voting to leave the EU it’s vital to stress that there’s no need for haste, and as the Prime Minister has just said nothing will change in the short term except work will begin on how to extricate this country from the supranational system. As the Prime Minister has said there is no need to invoke Article 50," Mr Johnson said.

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