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May likely to launch Brexit in 2017: Donald Tusk

May has refrained from giving any formal notification this year and there is ambiguity over how her government will initiate the process. which would set in motion a two-year countdown to Britain's exit. Photograph: (AFP)

WION Bratislava, Slovakia Sep 17, 2016, 08.12 AM (IST)
British Prime Minister Theresa May might launch formal negotiations for Brexit in January-February next year, European Council president Donald Tusk said on Friday, citing a recent talk with May.

May has refrained from giving any formal notification this year and there is ambiguity over how her government will initiate the process. which would set in motion a two-year countdown to Britain's exit.

"Prime Minister May was very open and honest with me," Tusk said talking about his visit to London on September 8. 

"She declared it's almost impossible to trigger Article 50 this year but it's quite likely that they will be ready maybe in January, maybe in February next year."

EU leaders are waiting to hear from May on what she wants.

"Our British colleagues need more time to prepare themselves for these negotiations," he told reporters.

"We are well prepared for these negotiations and we could in fact start these procedures even tomorrow," he added, saying that the EU's goal was "the closest possible future relations" with Britain while negotiating in the interests of the bloc.

Divided EU struggles

A meeting was held on Friday in the Slovak capital of Bratislava with the 27 other EU members  and a six-month "road map" designed to bring back public confidence in the union was unveiled. 

But unity was shadowed as many leaders including  Italy`s Matteo Renzi and Hungary`s Viktor Orban, did not agree with the conclusions once the meeting ended.

"I`m not satisfied with the (summit) conclusions on growth or on immigration," said Renzi.

According to Reuters, Renzi was miffed at being excluded from a joint news conference given by Germany`s Angela Merkel and France`s Francois Hollande at the end of the summit.

"To define as a step forward today`s document on migrants would require a form of fantasy, a verbal high-wire act," the Italian Prime Minister added.

Orban ,meanwhile, criticised Merkel for refusing to agree to a cap on the number of migrants entering Europe, calling her pro-refugee stance "self-destructive and naive".

But people eye-witnesses to the summit said that Orban and Renzi did not raise serious complaints with other leaders during the talks. 

"This is clearly about domestic politics," a senior official said told Reuters.

(WION with inputs from Reuters)


 
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