Presidents of the EC, EP, Council and European Council discussed the outcome of the British referendum on 24 June and came up with a statement. They said they regret the voters´ decision, but respect it as a free and democratic choice. The UK should quickly invoke article 50 of the Treaty on EU and start the withdrawal negotiation process. The concessions made to the UK in February will not take effect and are now considered obsolete. No new negotiations are to take place, only the withdrawal ones. Until the UK formally leaves, it has all the rights and obligations of EU membership – even though its political clout is substantially lowered. The UK-nominated Commissioner lord Hill stepped down and some realignments are expected also at the EP level. The EP will discuss the outcome of the referendum at an extraordinary plenary on Tuesday 29 June.
Leaders and experts urge the UK to submit a formal notification of intention to leave the EU as soon as possible. The medially disseminated outcome of the referendum is not enough. Such formal notification can take some time, but should not be postponed unnecessarily. The uncertainty is damaging to all. Businesses indicate they need to have at least some timeframe, which the notification will provide. According to art. 50, negotiations are to take maximum 2 years. If no deal is found, or the deadline is not postponed by unanimous decision, the country ceases to be EU member automatically. However, in that case, there are no transitional or post-exit measures, such as for example continued single market access.
2nd May 2018