LONDON – The president of the European Parliament urged Britain on Thursday to make an early start on EU exit talks, saying it’s important to finish negotiations before European elections scheduled for mid-2019.
Britain voted in a referendum, dubbed Brexit, this summer to leave the European Union, but has not yet invoked the article of the EU treaty that would trigger negotiations. Once it does, the talks are expected to last two years.
Prime Minister Theresa May has said she won’t initiate the discussions before the end of the year.
European Parliament President Martin Schulz said before meeting May at 10 Downing St. on Thursday that he “understands that the British government wants to take its time.”
But, he added that it wouldn’t be good for Britain or the EU if the British voted for members of the EU parliament while negotiations to leave the bloc were in progress, Germany’s dpa news agency reported.
Schulz, a member of Germany’s centre-left Social Democrats, leads the 28-nation EU’s legislative assembly.