Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi said on Monday that Europe must move quickly to tackle Britain’s exit from the EU, warning there was not enough awareness of the “gravity of the situation”.
“The last thing Europe needs is to start a year-long discussion on (the negotiation) procedures” for Brexit, Renzi told the Italian Senate.
“If everything is limited to negotiations about procedures, we will lose sight of what has occurred,” he said.
“What’s missing today is an awareness of the gravity of the situation.”
The centre-left premier, who will meet later Monday with German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Francois Hollande, insisted there was no time to lose and Europe “must take action”.
Renzi stressed that the crisis in the European Union created by the outcome of the Brexit referendum was also “the greatest opportunity for Europe, if we stop playing defensively, and if we try to give our continent the possibility of a new start.”
EU leaders including caretaker British Prime Minister David Cameron will meet at a summit in Brussels on Tuesday and discuss the consequences of Brexit.
They then meet on Wednesday without Cameron.
Cameron has said initiating the two-year process for leaving the EU must wait until a successor is chosen from his Conservative party, which could be as late as October.