Monday 26 August 2019

EU chiefs push UK to speed up exit

Britain's Home Secretary Theresa May, who is due to take over as prime minister.
Britain's Home Secretary Theresa May, who is due to take over as prime minister.

Corina Ruhe and Rainer Buergin

European Union finance chiefs yesterday urged the UK to speed up its exit from the bloc after the selection of Theresa May as prime minister, warning that the uncertainty of drawing out the process impacts all sides.

"We must not waste time -- the Conservative Party went fast" in getting Ms May in position, EU Economic Affairs Commissioner Pierre Moscovici told reporters in Brussels yesterday. The selection should also speed up the Brexit process, he said.

Ms May is set to become prime minister today, almost two months earlier than initially anticipated, after her last remaining rival withdrew.

"You can only start negotiating if they start the procedure," said Jeroen Dijsselbloem, the Netherlands' finance chief.

"And I think it's mainly in the British interest to get clarity soon, so don't postpone the negotiations endlessly."

Ms May backed staying in the EU before the referendum, and now favours waiting until 2017 to trigger Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty, starting the two-year process for withdrawing.

Ratings agency Moody's welcomed the speed of the change in leadership in Britain but said it also increased the risk of a looser fiscal stance.

"It is positive that the period to select a new prime minister will be shorter than anticipated. But the important question is how the negotiations around the EU withdrawal unfold and, ultimately, what alternative trade arrangements are put in place," Kathrin Muehlbronner, senior vice president at Moody's said. (Agencies)

Irish Independent

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