Calls grow for faster Brexit talks as May prepares to succeed Cameron

Calls grew for Britain's prime-minister-in-waiting Theresa May to move faster in opening Brexit negotiations, as David Cameron held his final cabinet meeting before handing over to May on Wednesday.

May had advocated waiting until the end of this year to invoke Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty, which sets the rules for a nation leaving the EU, despite a clamour from many British and EU politicians to move more quickly.

Speaking in Brussels on Tuesday, EU Economy Commissioner Pierre Moscovici said he hoped the faster than expected Conservative Party election for Cameron's successor meant it was "possible that the process of the discussions with the EU also accelerates."

"That's what I think a lot of people expect and hope and call for," Moscovici told reporters. "We need to know as quickly as possible when and how the negotiations with the United Kingdom will open.

Veteran Conservative lawmaker Ken Clarke said May should open talks on Brexit in the next few weeks, arguing that prolonged economic uncertainty could damage the economy in Britain and the wider European Union.

May and her new cabinet should "sort out the outlines of our economic and trading relationships as quickly as possible," Clarke told BBC Radio 4, adding that informal discussions were "not going to get very far."

"We can't just drift on with uncertainty," he said. "They've got to get a team together to negotiate, work out what they want.

"Because of the risks to the real economy, not just the financial markets... we need to get on with clarifying the trade and economic position first, as quickly as possible," Clarke told the broadcaster.

May has promised to appoint a pro-Brexit politician as Brexit minister, a post created with the task of leading negotiations with the EU.

Last update: Tue, 12/07/2016 - 12:41
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