Brexit ref­er­en­dum forces EU sum­mit de­lay

The Pak Banker - - MARKETS/SPORTS -

The Bri­tish ref­er­en­dum on whether to leave the Euro­pean Union has prompted Brus­sels of­fi­cials to plan to post­pone an EU sum­mit sched­uled on the same day, sev­eral EU sources told me­dia.

The reg­u­lar June meet­ing of the Euro­pean Coun­cil, the heads of state and gov­ern­ment of the 28 mem­ber states, would con­vene on Mon­day and Tues­day, June 27-28, a four-day de­lay, one said, al­though that was yet to be con­firmed by all the par­tic­i­pants. Euro­pean Coun­cil of­fi­cials had no of­fi­cial com­ment.

Last month, Prime Min­is­ter David Cameron sched­uled the "Brexit" ref­er­en­dum for June 23 -- Bri­tish elec­tions are al­ways on Thurs­days -- mean­ing that the re­sult would be known just as lead­ers were fin­ish­ing din­ner on the first day of a sum­mit long sched­uled for June 23-24.

By de­lay­ing the Coun­cil, of­fi­cials hope to en­sure that the other lead­ers are able to take con­sid­ered de­ci­sions in re­sponse to the ref­er­en­dum re­sult. Opinion polls are tight as Cameron seeks to per­suade Bri­tons of the value of EU membership.

A vote to leave would strike a heavy blow at a Union al­ready in cri­sis, de­priv­ing it of its sec­ond big­gest econ­omy. It would start a process of ne­go­ti­a­tion with Lon­don on the terms of a new re­la­tion­ship in trade and oth­ers ar­eas likely to last for years.

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