wednesday, 29 june of 2016

European Parliament to Britain: Hurry Up and Leave

The European Parliament called on Britain on Tuesday to hurry up and leave the European Union after a stormy and ill-tempered debate.

A majority of lawmakers voted in an emergency session to approve a nonbinding resolution that asks Britain to set the clock ticking “as soon as possible” on a legal process that could lead to a withdrawal from the European Union in two years. (An earlier draft of the resolution had called on Britain to invoke the legal process “immediately.”)

Britain voted, 52 percent to 48 percent, on Thursday to leave the European Union. But the referendum is not legally binding on Parliament, and Prime Minister David Cameron, who announced on Friday that he would step down by October, has left it to his successor to invoke Article 50, the formal — and never-before-used — process for a member to leave the 28-nation bloc.

Before the vote, there were furious exchanges that included the prolonged booing of Nigel Farage, the leader of the anti-European U.K. Independence Party, who castigated fellow members of the European Parliament.

Mr. Farage said that many lawmakers in the 751-member chamber had never held a proper job in their lives.

In contrast, lawmakers gave a standing ovation for Alyn Smith, a member of the European Parliament from Scotland, which voted overwhelmingly to stay in the European Union. “We will need cool heads and warm hearts, but please remember this: Scotland did not let you down,” Mr. Smith said to cheers and applause. “Do not let Scotland down now.”

The resolution, though symbolic, reflects mounting concern among European Union lawmakers and leaders that Britain could delay the formal legal process for leaving and prolong uncertainty about the future direction of the bloc and destabilize the wider economy.

There were 395 lawmakers who supported the resolution; 200 who voted against, and 71 abstained.

National leaders meeting in Brussels will begin debating the strategies for a slimmed-down bloc on Wednesday without Mr. Cameron, who is expected to leave after a group dinner Tuesday evening.

(Published by The New York Times - June 29, 2016)

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