Monday, July 18, 2016

EU Said to Eye ‘Nuclear Option’ to Force May’s Hand on Brexit

European Union, officials on the continent have begun to float what they call “the nuclear option” to bring new British Prime Minister Theresa May to table: suspending Britain’s voting rights in EU institutions, reports Bloomberg.

Several member states have started looking at whether a suspension would be feasible by invoking Article 7 of the Lisbon Treaty, according to two European officials who spoke on condition of anonymity, says Bloomberg.

Bloomberg continues:
While May took office on Wednesday promising that “Brexit means Brexit,” her government is already sending out mixed signals on how long that might take. Trade Secretary Liam Fox is working on the basis that the two-year negotiating period could begin around the end of the year, but May on Friday said she won’t start the process of leaving the EU until she’s got Scotland’s backing. With Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon adamant that her country won’t be leaving at all, that pledge opens up the prospect of extensive delays.

European leaders including German Chancellor Angela Merkel have acknowledged that the government in London will need time to envisage its future relationship with the EU. But with May installed sooner-than-expected at 10 Downing Street, European officials have called for her to accelerate the exit process...

French Foreign Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault on Monday urged the U.K. to start formal talks as soon as possible to reduce uncertainty about Britain’s status. “The sooner the negotiations start, the better,” Ayrault told reporters in Brussels.

In an interview with the Sunday Times, Fox said he is lining up free-trade deals with about a dozen countries to be ready for an exit from the EU by Jan. 1, 2019. That would mean triggering Article 50 of the EU treaty by the end of the year...
Chief Brexit negotiator David Davis said in an interview with the Mail on Sunday that he’s convinced the U.K. will be able to retain single-market access and tighten restrictions on migration, a combination of privileges that European leaders have explicitly ruled out.

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