EU Commission President Jean Claude Juncker told the European Parliament this morning there will be no negotiations with the United Kingdom before there is formal notification of its Brexit vote.
"No negotiation without notification," he told a special plenary sitting of the parliament.
In the afternoon, EP President Donald Tusk suggested that an informal meeting of the EU27 countries without the UK could take place in September in Bratislava during @eu2016sk #EUCO.
Mr Juncker said he would seek clarifications from the UK on the situation. It was important, he said, that such clarification was given as soon as possible.
He said he regretted the British vote but said democratic decisions had to be respected.
“The British vote has cut one of our wings but we are still flying and will continue to fly,” he said.
He said the EU would continue to work towards its ideals and also work on becoming more efficient and more social.
Mr Juncker said he had stressed to the European commissioners there could be no secret negotiations with the UK.
Earlier Leave campaigner Nigel Farage sparred with Mr Juncker, who questioned why he had bothered to attend the EP session.
"That's the last time you are applauding here," Mr Juncker said, after the fiercely anti-EU politician applauded his opening statement that Europe "must respect British democracy and the way it has expressed its view".
"To some extent I am really surprised that you are here," he told him.
"You were fighting for the exit, the British people voted in favour of the exit. Why are you here?"
Mr Farage told him it was a "pleasure".
TIME OF APPEASEMENT IS OVER
The head of the European People's Party told Britain that the days of appeasement were over and European politicians had a duty to stop EU bashing.
Addressing Mr Farage, he hit at him for misleading claims and lies, such as the UK contribution to the EU: “Shame on you, you should apologise,” he said.
He also insisted that in negotiations with the UK, EU rules needed to be respected. “Cherry picking is over” he said. There could not be a two-tier EU.
Rules on access to the single market had to be respected, as they were respected by Norway and Switzerland, and rules on free movement of people had to be respected too, one could not choose between nurses from Lithuania and others from other countries.
RESOLUTION ON EU PRESIDENCY ROTATION
MEPs later approved a resolution asking the European Union member states to change the rotating presidency order to fill the six-month gap caused by Brexit.
The resolution, proposed by the major political groups in the European Parliament, including the EPP and the Socialists, is an alternative to the possible extension of Malta’s six-month presidency.
The resolution “calls on the Council to change the order of presidencies to prevent the process of withdrawal from jeopardising the management of the day-to-day business of the Union”.
European Parliament sources told Times of Malta that, although the European Commission seemed to be keen on extending the presidencies of Malta and Estonia to cover the six-month gap created by the UK’s departure, MEPs were not in favour of the idea.
“With all due respect to both Malta and Estonia, the EU needs strong leadership and political clout to deal with this unprecedented crisis. No one in the European Parliament thinks that this burden should be put on the smallest and newest member states of the EU,” the sources said.
What is being suggested by the European Parliament is that the Council re-arranges the order of the presidencies so that the UK’s gap will be filled normally by another country. In that way, no extensions and extraordinary efforts by other presidencies will be necessary.”
“What is being suggested by the European Parliament is that the Council re-arranges the order of the presidencies so that the UK’s gap will be filled normally by another country. In that way, no extensions and extraordinary efforts by other presidencies will be necessary,” they added.
The UK was expected to take over the six-month rotating presidency of the EU from Malta in July next year. Estonia is scheduled to take over the presidency in January 2018.
This newspaper is informed that the possibility of an extension of Malta's presidency beyond its six-month stint had already been informally discussed with the government before last week’s referendum in the UK.
Senior Malta government officials informed Brussels the island would not mind staying longer at the helm as long as the EU provided some form of help, particularly financial compensation.
European Council sources said more clarity about what would happen should emerge tonight during an EU summit in Brussels. “We are expecting David Cameron to raise the issue and the British intentions during tonight’s dinner with the 27 EU leaders,” the sources said.
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