EU’s founding members say talks on UK exit needed urgently

The founding members of the European Union address a press conference after talks at the Villa Borsig in Berlin on June 25, 2016. (AFP)

The founding members of the European Union on Saturday urged for quick negotiations about Britain’s departure from the bloc, saying the other 27 countries in the union need to move ahead and think about the future.

In a display of unity in Berlin, foreign ministers of the six founding members urged for quick negotiations to avoid prolonged financial and political insecurity for the continent.

“There is a certain urgency ... so that we don’t have a period of uncertainty, with financial consequences, political consequences,” French Foreign Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault said.

He spoke alongside counterparts from the other five founding members of what has become the EU - Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Belgium and Luxembourg. They all spoke of the need for a speedy renegotiation.

German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier also said negotiations on a British exit, or Brexit, should begin “as soon as possible” and added that “intensive European discussions” are needed.

Steinmeier said there is a need to “show the people of Europe that Europe is important, and not only important but able to carry out its work.”

Luxembourg’s Foreign Minister Jean Asselborn said he hoped there would be no “cat and mouse” game now and that Britain would invoke Article 50 of the EU charter, which allows for a country to leave.

“There must be clarity,” Asselborn told reporters. “The people have spoken and we need to implement this decision.”

He added that once outside the bloc, Britain would be a “third country” - the EU term for non-members - in terms of trade agreements but emphasized that was “not meant negatively.”

All six ministers said they agreed that Europe needs to do more to solve pressing issues like the migration crisis, unemployment and security concerns following the terror attacks in France and Belgium.

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Last Update: Wednesday, 20 May 2020 KSA 09:49 - GMT 06:49
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