Britain, EU at Odds Over Split Timing 06/25 07:13
Britain and the EU haven't even begun divorce talks but they are already
bickering, as political and economic shockwaves from the British vote spread
around the world.
LONDON (AP) -- Britain and the EU haven't even begun divorce talks but they
are already bickering, as political and economic shockwaves from the British
vote spread around the world.
EU diplomats meeting in Berlin told Britain to hurry up and trigger the
formal exit process -- something the U.K. has said won't happen for several
French Foreign Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault said "there is a certain urgency
... so that we don't have a period of uncertainty, with financial consequences,
Meanwhile, Scottish leader Nicola Sturgeon said her semi-autonomous
administration would start immediate talks with the EU to ensure Scotland could
remain in the bloc despite the U.K.-wide vote to leave. A majority of Scots
backed staying in the union, but a majority in much-larger England voted to
After meeting with her Cabinet in Edinburgh, Sturgeon said "we will seek to
enter into immediate discussion" with other EU nations and institutions to
"explore possible options to protect Scotland's place in the EU."
She said a new referendum on Scottish independence from the United Kingdom
is "very much on the table."
Scotland voted in 2014 to remain a part of the U.K., but that decision was
seen by many as conditional on the U.K. remaining in the EU.
The victorious "leave" campaigners in Thursday's referendum have said there
is no rush to trigger Article 50 of the EU's Lisbon treaty, which will begin a
two-year exit process to renegotiate trade, business and political links
between the U.K. and what will become a 27-nation bloc.
Prime Minister David Cameron, who announced his resignation Friday, said his
successor, to be chosen by October, should start the process.
The favorite to succeed him, London Mayor Boris Johnson, has aid there is
"no need for haste" --- but EU leaders are saying the opposite.
European Commission president Jean-Claude Juncker said Saturday that the
British had voted to leave, and "it doesn't make any sense to wait until
October to try and negotiate the terms of their departure."
"I would like to get started immediately," he said.
Juncker said the split was "not an amicable divorce" --- adding that it was
never "a tight love affair anyway."
Top diplomats from the European Union's six founding nations --- France,
Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Belgium and Luxembourg --- met in Berlin for
hastily arranged talks and stressed that the exit process should be speedy.
Luxembourg Foreign Minister said he hoped there would be no "cat and mouse"
"There must be clarity," Asselborn told reporters. "The people have spoken
and we need to implement this decision."
The referendum has triggered political and financial turmoil around the
world. Stock markets plummeted Friday, with the Dow Jones industrial average
dropping 611 points, or 3.4 percent, its biggest fall since August.
The pound dropped to its lowest level since 1985, plunging more than 10
percent from about $1.50 to $1.35 before a slight recovery, on concerns that
severing ties with the single market will hurt the U.K. economy and undermine
London's position as a global financial center.
Credit rating agency Moody's downgraded the U.K.'s economic outlook from
stable to negative, saying Britain faces "a prolonged period of uncertainty ...
with negative implications for the country's medium-term growth outlook."
The vote to leave the EU also caused an earthquake in British politics. The
Conservatives are facing a leadership battle to replace Cameron, and some
members of the opposition Labour Party also hope to oust their leader, Jeremy
Many Labour lawmakers were strongly pro-"remain" and accuse the socialist
Corbyn, a longtime critic of the EU, of failing to rally Labour supporters
behind staying in the bloc.
Labour legislator Frank Field said Saturday that Corbyn "clearly isn't the
right person to actually lead the party into an election because nobody thinks
he will actually win."
"We clearly need somebody who the public think of as an alternative prime
minister," Field told BBC radio.
Corbyn said Saturday he would not resign, and said Britain must react
"calmly and rationally" to the divisive referendum result.
Corbyn told a meeting in London Saturday that politicians needed to take
seriously voters' concerns about immigration, which led many to back a British
exit from the 28-nation EU.
Corbyn said "we must talk about immigration . but we will never pander to