Cameron wants ‘closest possible’ EU ties

Brexiters suggest U.K. can retain access to single market and curb migration, an idea instantly rejected by Merkel.

June 29, 2016 12:35 am | Updated November 17, 2021 04:21 am IST - BRUSSELS:

Britain's Prime Minister David Cameron with European Commission president Jean-Claude Juncker as at the EU summit in in Brussels, Belgium, on Tuesday.

Britain's Prime Minister David Cameron with European Commission president Jean-Claude Juncker as at the EU summit in in Brussels, Belgium, on Tuesday.

Prime Minister David Cameron said on Tuesday he wants the “closest possible” relations with the EU after Britain voted to leave the bloc, adding the split should be “as constructive as possible”.

As he arrived at a Brussels summit, Mr. Cameron, who is to step down within weeks, told reporters that, while Britain was leaving the EU, “we mustn’t be turning our backs on Europe”.

“These countries are our neighbours, our friends, our allies, our partners,” he added. “I very much hope we’ll seek the closest possible relationship in terms of trade and cooperation and security, because that is good for us and that is good for them.”

Mr. Cameron, who led the campaign for Britain to stay in the bloc, is under pressure from other European leaders to hurry up and file divorce proceedings by triggering the so-called Article 50 of the EU’s Lisbon Treaty.

However, Mr. Cameron has said he will not take this step, which would start a two-year countdown until Britain’s departure. He said this was up to his successor, who is expected to take office in September.

Access to single market ‘Leave’ campaigners in Britain, among them former London Mayor Boris Johnson, have suggested Britain can retain access to the European single market and curb immigration — goals which are mutually incompatible under EU rules.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel said Britain would not be able to “cherry-pick” the parts of the EU it wants, such as enjoying access to the single market, without accepting principles such as freedom of movement when it negotiates its exit from the bloc.

“I can only advise our British friends not to fool themselves... in terms of the necessary decisions that need to be made in Britain,” said the German Chancellor.

Cameron’s successor Meanwhile, bookmakers favour Interior Minister Theresa May to replace Mr. Cameron as the Prime Minister when he steps down. Ms. May has avoided the Conservative party infighting that has dominated the EU referendum campaign.

According to The Sunday Times , many of the party’s MPs and Ministers think Ms. May is the only figure capable of uniting the warring factions. Centre-right newspaper The Daily Telegraph said Ms. May’s “silence speaks volumes about her leadership ambitions”.

Also, she edged ahead in a poll of party members — who will elect the new leader — published in the Times on Tuesday.

Top News Today


Comments have to be in English, and in full sentences. They cannot be abusive or personal. Please abide by our community guidelines for posting your comments.

We have migrated to a new commenting platform. If you are already a registered user of The Hindu and logged in, you may continue to engage with our articles. If you do not have an account please register and login to post comments. Users can access their older comments by logging into their accounts on Vuukle.