The centralisation of all lawmaking for the single market in Brussels has turned it into a lobbyists’ meat market, defending the interests of big business. Brussels has given up hope that exit process will be formally launched at summit this week but wants it to begin soon.
London and Brussels appear headed for stalemate going into a European Union summit on Tuesday discuss Britain’s vote to leave.
With Europe’s leaders divided over how to negotiate Brexit and Britain apparently reluctant to initiate formal talks on leaving, an EU source said lawyers had concluded that a member state could not be forced to launch the process.
But a senior EU official stressed that, by the same token, Brussels could refuse overtures for even informal talks before the exit process is officially initiated – a course that prominent Brexit leaders including Boris Johnson want to pursue.
“As long there is no notification, there will not be any negotiations,” the official said. Brussels has given up hope that Britain could be bounced into triggering article 50 – the untested procedure that governs how a member state leaves the bloc – at the summit starting on Tuesday.
The official said the UK was in “a significant crisis” and it would be unrealistic to expect such a move. But he insisted: “We are ready to enter into this process quickly. We are ready to enter into this process as soon as possible.”
The US Secretary of State, John Kerry, is due in London for talks later on Monday after a stop-off in Brussels, while the leaders of Germany, France and Italy will meet in Berlin ahead of the Tuesday summit. Kerry urged both Britain and the EU to “minimise disruption” by negotiating the divorce responsibly.
David Cameron is due to explain the UK’s position at a dinner at the EU summit on Tuesday night. Cameron will leave after the dinner, taking no part in the talks between leaders of the bloc’s 27 remaining members on Wednesday.
Martin Schulz, the president of the EU parliament, led the call for formal exit talks to be launched as early as Tuesday. “We expect the British government to deliver now,” he told Germany’s Bild am Sonntag. “The summit on Tuesday is the appropriate moment to do so.”