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EU Meets Without Britain For First Time Since Brexit Vote

European Union leaders will Wednesday assess the damage from Britain’s decision to leave the bloc and try to prevent further disintegration, as they meet for the first time without a British representative.

And as the shockwaves reverberate around British politics, Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon is also expected in Brussels “utterly determined” to keep her pro-EU country in the club despite the Brexit vote.

Five days after Britain voted by 52 to 48 percent to leave the bloc, unleashing turmoil on global financial markets, EU President Donald Tusk said he understood that time was needed “for the dust to settle” before the next steps can be taken.

However, European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker warned Britain did not have “months to meditate” and set a clear timetable for triggering Article 50 — the EU treaty clause that begins the two-year withdrawal process — after Cameron’s successor takes office in early September.

“If someone from the ‘Remain’ camp will become British PM, this has to be done in two weeks after his appointment,” he said. If they are from the Brexit camp, then it should be “the day after”.

And German Chancellor Angela Merkel warned that London could not “cherry-pick” the terms of the exit negotiations.

Some in Brussels are concerned that giving Britain favourable divorce terms will spark a domino effect of others leaving the union, set up six decades ago to foster peace on the continent after World War II.

At a tense summit that finished late Tuesday, the 27 remaining EU members agreed to give Britain some breathing space, accepting that it needs time to absorb the shock of the Brexit vote before triggering Article 50 that will begin the formal divorce proceedings.

Credit: Guardian

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