Top EU official: Britain needs to leave before mid-2019 election

Britain needs to leave the European Union before parliamentary elections in the bloc in mid-2019, EU Parliament President Martin Schulz said Thursday.

Negotiations on a so-called Brexit can take no longer than two years, meaning that Britain would have to trigger Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty - which sets the rules for a two-year negotiating process for a nation leaving the EU - by the middle of next year.

Schulz said that considering the highly complex modalities of a British exit from the bloc, he could understand that the British government wanted to take its time over the decision.

However, he added that it would be impossible for Britons to take part in the election, which sees member states elect deputies to represent them in the legislature in Brussels, and that Brexit needed to be completed before then.

A narrow majority of British voters opted to leave the European Union in a referendum on June 23. Prime Minister Theresa May has said she will not trigger Article 50 before the start of 2017.

Last update: Thu, 22/09/2016 - 18:49
Author: 

More from Europe

One dead after central Italy hit by series of quakes

One person was killed on Wednesday when a building collapsed during four powerful quakes that shook central Italy on...

Boris Johnson compares French president to WWII prison guard

British Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson on Wednesday compared Francois Hollande to a World War II prison guard after...

Merkel pledges to hold Europe together after Brexit

German Chancellor Angela Merkel pledged on Wednesday to hold the European Union together after Britain's planned...

Slovenia looks to capitalize on its connection to Melania Trump

As Donald Trump campaigned for the Oval Office, his Slovenian-born wife Melania did not receive much love and...

EC recommends Croatia's gradual integration into Schengen Information System

The European Commission on Wednesday made a recommendation to the Council of the European Union to gradually...