The United Kingdom may “never” trigger its exit from the European Union, despite the Brexit camp’s victory on Thursday. This is the considered view of one European diplomat.
“My personal feeling is that Britain will never notify” the EU of its intention to leave the Union, stated the diplomat anonymously.
Per Article 50 of the Lisbon treaty signed in 2007, which has never been used up until now, to instigate its withdrawal, the United Kingdom must notify the European Council of its intention to leave the Union.
It must then negotiate a “withdrawal agreement” for a maximum two-year period. The European Council is made up of heads of both state and government of member states.
“We would like London to trigger Article 50 now, as a means of providing clarity. As we cannot force them, I expect them to take their time over this,” declared the diplomat.
“However, I would not exclude the possibility of Britain not leaving the EU. It is simply my personal sentiment, that Britain may never do it,” he added.
Despite the growing pressure from European leaders the pro-EU, Conservative Prime Minister, David Cameron, is not obliged to start the procedure for leaving the EU from Tuesday onwards in Brussels, where a two-day European summit will begin, according to one European leader.
By announcing his resignation after the Brexit victory, Mr Cameron stated that he would only leave office in October and that the onus would be on his successor to trigger the withdrawal process and to negotiate this with Brussels.
The EU partners say that the procedure should be instigated by Christmas at the latest.
The President of the European Commission, Jean-Claude Juncker, expressed Brussel’s impatience with Britain’s approach.
“I do not know why the British government needs to wait until October to decide whether or not it sends notification of divorce proceedings to Brussels. I would have liked to have this immediately,” he said.