We understand Britain needs time to exit EU, but cannot afford delay: Merkel

  • AFP, Berlin
  • Updated: Jun 28, 2016 00:23 IST
German Chancellor Angela Merkel said there cannot be any informal talks before Britain gives its notice to exit EU. (Reuters)

German Chancellor Angela Merkel on Monday said it was understandable that Britain needs time before triggering its exit from the European Union, but warned against dragging out the process.

“We cannot afford to have a long period of uncertainty. I think that would not be good for either the EU’s 27 member states or Britain. But I also understand that Britain needs a certain period of time to analyse the situation,” she said.

But while Britain considers its options, the leader of Europe’s biggest economy also insisted that no back-room deals would be done before the UK triggers Article 50 to leave the bloc.

“There cannot be any informal talks before Britain gives its notice. That to me, is clear,” she said.

British finance minister George Osborne said Monday that his country should only activate Article 50 to leave the EU when it has a “clear view” of how its future in the bloc would look.

Britain’s notification will set the clock ticking on a two-year period of negotiations within which a basic withdrawal agreement should be made.

After that “the treaties shall cease to apply to the state in question” -- or in layman’s terms, Brexit is a reality.

The talks can in theory be extended if need be -- but only by the unanimous consent of Britain and the other 27 member states.

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