Sun Jun 26th, 2016 at 08:46:57 PM EST
Until last Friday, when Brexit was just a possibility and European governments were drawing contingency plans, there was a consensus that, should it come to pass, within a week or so, David Cameron, or his successor, would arrive at a special European summit to officially announce UK's intention to start the leave process and trigger the famous article 50.
At least, this is more or less what most people were expecting.
Well, it looks like the British leadership will eventually start negotiations with the EU27, but they're going to take their sweet time doing so.
David Cameron resigns after UK votes to leave European Union | Politics | The Guardian
Cameron said it would be best for his successor to negotiate the terms of Britain's exit - and to trigger article 50 of the Lisbon treaty, which begins the formal process of withdrawal, adding that he had already discussed his intentions with the Queen.
The prime minister promised to stay on until the autumn, to "steady the ship"; but suggested a new leader should be in place by the start of the Conservative party's conference in October.
Frontpaged - Frank Schnittger
You could almost hear the collective WTF among European capitals (probably followed by something like: you gotta be f*ck*ng kidding...").
Martin Schulz was not amused:
EU parliament leader: we want Britain out as soon as possible | Politics | The Guardian
Martin Schulz, the president of the European parliament, told the Guardian that EU lawyers were studying whether it was possible to speed up the triggering of article 50 of the Lisbon treaty - the untested procedure for leaving the union.
As the EU's institutions scrambled to respond to the bodyblow of Britain's exit, Schulz said uncertainty was "the opposite of what we need", adding that it was difficult to accept that "a whole continent is taken hostage because of an internal fight in the Tory party".
He was not alone: reactions among EU politicians ranged from surprise to outright irritation. EU leaders issues a statement calling to Britain to "get on with it already".
EU governments pile pressure on UK to leave as soon as possible | Politics | The Guardian
EU governments have piled pressure on the UK to leave the union as soon as possible, saying talks on the exit must begin promptly and urging that a new British prime minister is installed quickly.
Even Mark Rutte, whom the Torygraph has been gushing about, calling a great Anglophile, is siding with his colleagues:
Brexit: Joint Statement By EU leaders Martin Schulz, Donald Tusk, Mark Rutte And Jean-Claude Juncker - Eurasia Review
President Schulz, President Tusk and Prime Minister Rutte met this morning in Brussels upon the invitation of European Commission President Juncker. They discussed the outcome of the United Kingdom referendum and made the following joint statement:
"In a free and democratic process, the British people have expressed their wish to leave the European Union. We regret this decision but respect it.
We now expect the United Kingdom government to give effect to this decision of the British people as soon as possible, however painful that process may be. Any delay would unnecessarily prolong uncertainty. We have rules to deal with this in an orderly way. Article 50 of the Treaty on European Union sets out the procedure to be followed if a Member State decides to leave the European Union. We stand ready to launch negotiations swiftly with the United Kingdom regarding the terms and conditions of its withdrawal from the European Union.
But why would the Brexiters be dilly-dallying?
After all, you'd almost expect BoJo to proudly show up at the next European summit to slam UK's "resignation letter" on the table, in front of the other leaders, as in the opening sequence of The Prisoner.
The Economist explains: What happens now that Britain has voted for Brexit | The Economist
Mr Cameron has promised that Britain would immediately invoke article 50 of the Lisbon treaty, which sets a two-year timetable to agree the terms of departure. But uncertainty about his own position could raise questions about this. If he steps down and a Brexiteer takes over as leader of the Tory party and as prime minister, he or she is likely to argue that Article 50 is biased against the interests of a country leaving the EU. Under Article 50, the terms of Britain's departure would be agreed by the other 27 EU countries, without a British vote. So Brexiteers would prefer to negotiate informally, without invoking Article 50.
There you have it: the Brexiters may never ever invoke article 50, because it is "biased", and would try to negotiate their own sweet deal.
How well will this play out on the Continent? Not too well, it seems...
Again, The Economist, with a very British sense of understatement: "The other 27 countries are unlikely to go for this."