EU leaders meet without Cameron over Brexit vote

EU leaders meet without Cameron over Brexit vote

Brussels, June 29 (IANS) Talks were underway for the second day on Wednesday at the European Union summit here over the UK’s decision to leave the bloc, but without the presence of British Prime Minister David Cameron.

The 27 other member states will discuss plans for Britain’s likely EU exit, with the UK absent from negotiations for the first time in 40 years.

Arriving at the talks on Wednesday morning, Belgium Prime Minister Charles Michel told BBC Britain “cannot afford the luxury of having a long-drawn-out political crisis”.

Michel said trying to reach an agreement among all 27 countries would create “immobility”, and suggested that a smaller, core group of countries could “move ahead more quickly, without the others preventing them”.

At the moment, the EU and Britain are locked in a kind of stalemate. EU leaders insist there can be no negotiation before the UK has formally invoked Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty, which will trigger the withdrawal talks.

David Cameron said Article 50 should be invoked by his successor as Prime Minister, effectively pushing the beginning of the process back until at October at the very earliest.

Tuesday’s meeting in Brussels was Cameron’s final EU summit, after he announced his intention to stand down by October.

In the meeting, Cameron said the rest of the EU wanted to have the “closest possible” relationship with the UK after Brexit.

But he said immigration was a “great concern” among UK voters and squaring this with access to the EU single market would be a “huge challenge”.

On June 24, Britain voted 52 percent to 48 per cent for its exit from the EU, 43 years after becoming a member of the bloc in 1973.

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