Berlin and Brussels speculate over speed of Brexit negotiations

Brexit negotiations

Germany and the European Union on Sunday remained ambiguous about the speed of Brexit negotations following a vote by Britain to leave the 28-member bloc, with a top EU official thinking they could start as soon as Tuesday.

The president of the EU Parliament, Martin Schulz, told German tabloid Bild am Sonntag he would not tolerate Britain‘s “dithering” over the issue.

“If we slow down the process only to make concessions to the dithering of the British Conservatives we will harm everyone. A long drawn-out process will only lead to more uncertainty and threaten jobs,” he told the paper.

“This is why we now expect the British government to deliver. The summit this coming Tuesday is a good moment for that,” Schulz said.

Top European diplomats from the founding members of the EU – including Germany, France, Italy and the Benelux countries – on Saturday in Berlin had equally called on Britain not to delay its exit from the bloc.

However, German Chancellor Angela Merkel had cautioned she would not press for a speedy decision, even though she felt negotiations should “not take forever.”

Merkel‘s chief of staff, Peter Altmaier, also doubted on Sunday that the British government would make its application to leave the EU as soon as the EU summit in Brussels on Tuesday.

“There is no evidence at all that this will happen. I rather think this application will be made in the coming weeks or months, possibly not before a new government is in place,” Altmaier told German radio broadcaster Deutschlandfunk.

The decision when to come forward with its request to leave the EU was up to Britain alone. “In my opinion, we should respect that,” Altmaier said.

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