Donald Tusk urges British Prime Minister Theresa May to begin Brexit negotiations
| Thursday, September 8, 2016 - 18:16
London: European Council President Donald Tusk on Thursday urged British Prime Minister Theresa May to begin Brexit negotiations as soon as possible.
Tusk, who met May ahead of the upcoming European Union Summit on September 16, stressed on the need for an immediate start to official Brexit discussions, EFE news reported.
"I'm aware that it is not easy but I still hope you will be ready to start the process as soon as possible," Tusk said, adding that the decision to move the process forward was now in "the UK's court".
Tusk tweeted that a quick initiation of negotiations was in "everyone's interest", and maintained that the EU's goal was to establish the closest possible relations with Britain.
Since the June 23 referendum result that saw British voters opt to leave the 28-member bloc, European officials have called on May to invoke Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty, which would trigger the two-year negotiation process.
May, in turn, said she wanted a "smooth" exit from the EU, but warned that Britain would not trigger the article this year.
In the upcoming EU Summit in the Slovakian capital Bratislava, European leaders are expected to discuss the EU's post-Brexit future.
Britain is not scheduled to attend the summit.
Tusk told May that the summit members would not discuss future relations with the seceding island-nation and reiterated that Britain would need to submit its official request to exit.
This was the first bilateral meeting between May and Tusk since the British PM took office after the Brexit triumph led to David Cameron's resignation.
Tusk arrived in the UK from Ireland as part of a series of conversations with European leaders before the Summit.