European ministers meet in Brussels
European Union leaders began plotting a future without Britain, urging the UK to disentangle itself as fast as possible from the other 27 nations in the bloc to avoid extending the current turmoil.
EU Council President Donald Tusk said he was planning a special meeting of the EU leaders minus UK Prime Minister David Cameron in Bratislava in September to chart a way ahead, after last week’s referendum made abundantly clear that a businessas-usual approach to Britain leaving could possibly threaten the unity of the bloc.
The move came as last night there was further drama in the UK as opposition Labour leader Party leader Jeremy Corbyn lost a vote of no confidence.
Meanwhile, Cameron held talks with European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker hours ahead of an EU summit in Brussels where the outgoing British leader was expected to say that exit talks might not be launched before October. There has been talk that Britain wants informal negotiations on what the UK’s future relations with Europe might look like before that happens - a notion many in the bloc have rejected.
Juncker and other European leaders insist they won’t begin any talks until Britain invokes the Article 50 of the EU’s Treaty of Lisbon, which sets in motion a two-year process to split away from the group.
In an unprecedented emergency session of the EU parliament, called after Britain voted to leave the union, Juncker demanded that Britain clarify its future.
“I want the UK to clarify its position. Not today, not tomorrow at 9am, but soon,” said. “We cannot allow ourselves to remain in a prolonged period of uncertainty.”
Juncker said he had banned his policy commissioners from holding any secret talks with Britain on its future until London triggers the exit clause.
“No notification. No negotiation,” he said to resounding applause.
The immediate reaction to the Brexit in the EU parliament was emotional yesterday. Nigel Farage, a British member of the European Parliament and a leader in Britain’s leave movement, was booed and jeered when he urged Europe to give Britain a good trade deal when it leaves, saying jobs in Germany's auto sector might be at stake if it doesn't.
“Why don’t we just be pragmatic, sensible, grown-up, reasonable... and cut a sensible tariff-free deal?” he asked.
BOOED: British MEP Nigel Farage was jeered