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Cameron urged to set Brexit ball rolling on Tuesday

The European Parliament’s chief called on Sunday for British Prime Minister David Cameron to begin formal proceedings to leave the EU at a summit this week.

Martin Schulz told German newspaper Bild am Sonntag that a period of limbo over Brexit would “lead to even more insecurity and thus endanger jobs”.

“Hesitating simply to accommodate the party tactics of the British Conservatives hurts everyone,” he said.

“That is why we expect the British government to now deliver. The summit on Tuesday is the right time.”

The four biggest groups in the European Parliament have also drawn up a draft resolution calling for Mr. Cameron to set the Brexit ball rolling on Tuesday, Germany's Frankfurter Allgemeine Sonntagszeitung reported.

This was crucial, the groups wrote, “to avoid damaging uncertainty for all and to preserve the integrity of the union”.

They added that “no new relationship of whatever kind between the United Kingdom and the EU can be agreed before (Britain's) exit accord has been completed”.

Mr. Cameron said on Friday in the wake of the shock referendum outcome favouring Britain leaving the EU that he would resign his office by October and leave the Brexit negotiations to his successor.

To begin the withdrawal process, Britain must invoke Article 50 of the EU's Lisbon treaty, which has never been used before.

The first step is to inform the European Council of member states which sets the clock ticking on a two-year timetable of negotiations.

The EU will hold a summit Tuesday and Wednesday to discuss the fallout from the British vote and the European Parliament will also hold a special session.

Foreign ministers from the EU's six founding states meeting in Berlin on Saturday urged Britain to begin the exit process “as soon as possible”.

Chancellor Angela Merkel, however, was more cautious, saying it was up to Britain to decide when to begin withdrawal proceedings, although they should not “drag on forever”.

“There is no reason to be nasty in the negotiations. We have to follow the rules of the game,” she said Saturday.

Her chief of staff, Peter Altmaier, told German public radio Sunday said he did not believe that Cameron would start the Brexit process on Tuesday.

“I have no indication that will happen. I tend to think that the application will be filed in the coming weeks or months, possibly only by a new government,” he said.

After it has been formed, the new British government will “then sort itself out and, as the case may be, present its application. We should all wait calmly for that”. © AFP, 2016

Scotland could veto Brexit laws to protect its interests: Sturgeon

Scotland's parliament would consider blocking legislation on Britain's exit from the European Union if that were necessary to protect Scottish interests, First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said.

Scotland, a nation of five million people, voted to stay in the EU by 62 to 38 percent in a referendum on Thursday, putting it at odds with the United Kingdom as a whole, which voted 52 to 48 percent in favour of an exit from the bloc, or Brexit.

Under the United Kingdom's complex arrangements to devolve some powers to Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, legislation generated in London to give effect to the vote to leave the EU would have to gain consent from the three devolved parliaments.

Asked on BBC television whether she would consider asking the Scottish parliament to block a motion of legislative consent, Sturgeon said: “Of course.”

“If the Scottish parliament was judging this on the basis of what's right for Scotland then the option of saying that we're not going to vote for something that is against Scotland's interest, of course that's going to be on the table.”

“Don't get me wrong, I care about the rest of the UK, I care about England, that's why I'm so upset at the UK-wide decision that's been taken. But my job as First Minister, the Scottish parliament's job, is to judge these things on the basis of what's in the interest of people in Scotland.”

Sturgeon, leader of a party that wants Scotland to become independent of the UK while remaining in the EU, has repeatedly said since the referendum result was announced on Friday that she would take whatever steps were necessary to ensure that Scotland's democratic will was respected.

That means that a new referendum on Scottish independence was now “highly likely", she has said, arguing that splitting away from the United Kingdom may be the only way for Scotland to remain in the EU while the rest of the UK exits.

(With inputs from Reuters)

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Printable version | Nov 29, 2020 11:36:43 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/international/Cameron-urged-to-set-Brexit-ball-rolling-on-Tuesday/article14403117.ece

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