EU flexes muscles, lays down terms for Britain

RSTV Bureau
 British Prime Minister David Cameron, right, speaks with French President Francois Hollande during a round table meeting at an EU summit in Brussels on Tuesday, June 28, 2016. EU heads of state and government meet Tuesday and Wednesday in Brussels for the first time since  Britain voted to leave the European Union, throwing British and European politics into disarray. Photo-PTI

British Prime Minister David Cameron, right, speaks with French President Francois Hollande during a round table meeting at an EU summit in Brussels on Tuesday, June 28, 2016. EU heads of state and government meet Tuesday and Wednesday in Brussels for the first time since
Britain voted to leave the European Union, throwing British and European politics into disarray.
Photo-PTI

Britain is now facing the consequences of Brexit. The European Union has warned Britain that it cannot access the bloc’s free trade zone unless it adheres to the other terms and conditions, including the freedom of movement which basically means accepting EU migrants.

The union said that Britain would be treated as a “third country” with both “rights and obligations”.

Continued access for to the huge EU single market of 500 million people “requires acceptance of all four freedoms, including freedom of movement,” EU president Donald Tusk told a news conference.

EU’s warning comes as a big blow to “Brexit” campaigners, who promised to restrict large-scale EU migration to Britain while assuring British companies would still be able to easily sell goods and services to the continent.

Earlier German Chancellor Angela Merkel too had warned London that it cannot not “cherry-pick” the terms of the exit negotiations.

There are also concerns that there is growing scepticism towards the union among member states. Therefore, EU believes, Britain should not be given overly favourable divorce terms as it could spark a domino effect.

British Prime Minister David Cameron was also under pressure to trigger the divorce proceedings at the earliest. But he did manage to buy himself more time. He resisted the pressure to immediately activate the Article 50 mechanism to leave the EU, saying he is leaving it to his successor, who will not be named until September 9.

EU leaders say that until this notification is made, no talks can begin – formally or informally – on resetting Britain’s ties with the EU, a process that is likely to last two years.

In an effort to prevent further exits, the EU leaders agreed to do more to battle “dissatisfaction with the current state of affairs”, the joint statement said.

“Europeans expect us to do better when it comes to providing security, jobs and growth, as well as hope for a better future,” they said, announcing a “political reflection to give an impulse to further reforms”.

Meanwhile in Britain, the political shockwaves from the Brexit bombshell continue to reverberate.

Opposition Labour leader, who lost the vote of confidence of his MPs, was urged by Cameron to step down.

“It might be in my party’s interests for him to sit there, it’s not in the national interests and I would say, for heaven’s sake man, go,” Cameron told Corbyn in a raucous parliamentary session.
Earlier Corbyn had refused to step down despite losing the confidence of his Labour MPs.

Corbyn, a veteran left-winger is accused of not campaigning hard enough to convince the party’s traditional working class voters to oppose Brexit.

In the Conservative camp, the race to picking a successor to Cameron began as nominations opened up. The race is expected to be a two-way contest between ex-London mayor and anti-EU campaigner Boris Johnson and interior minister Theresa May, who wanted to stay in the bloc

(With inputs from agencies)