Britain ‘will remain in the EU’: Austrian minister

  • AFP , Frankfurt
  • Updated: Jul 05, 2016 14:10 IST
A man poses for a photograph with his "EU Stay" hat in Parliament Square as thousands of protesters take part in a March for Europe, through the centre of London on Sunday to protest against Britain's vote to leave the EU, which has plunged the government into political turmoil and left the country deeply polarised. (AFP)

Britain will not quit the European Union despite voting to do so in a June 23 referendum, Austria’s finance minister Hans Joerg Schelling said in an interview published on Tuesday.

“In five years there will still be 28 member states,” Schelling told German business daily Handelsblatt.

European leaders were discussing “all possibilities” -- from Britain remaining in the EU to sealing “a free trade agreement on the Swiss or Norwegian model”, the former businessman said.

Schelling said that the United Kingdom could break up, with Scotland and Northern Ireland -- where the majority of the electorate voted to stay -- remaining members of the EU while pro-Brexit England goes its own way.

In the historic vote, 52% of Britons voted to leave the EU and 48% voted to remain.

The country has since been plunged into political turmoil.

Prime Minister David Cameron -- who led the ‘Remain’ campaign -- has resigned and top figures in the ‘Leave’ campaign have also stepped down.

Read: Farage quits as UKIP chief; Brexit faces legal challenge

A leadership battle has also broken out in the opposition Labour party.

Some fellow EU members have pushed Britain to trigger exit proceedings immediately to ward off economic uncertainty, but there is no legal requirement for the government to do so.

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