Germany and France react to British Prime Minister Theresa May’s triggering of the Brexit process.
Reactions also poured in from other European countries after the country triggered divorce talks with the EU on Wednesday.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel, for her part, snubbed the British premier’s calls for talks about the future relationship between the two countries to be held simultaneously with negotiations over the exit process.
“The negotiations must first clarify how we will disentangle our interlinked relationship,” the German chancellor said in the capital Berlin. “Only when this question is dealt with can we – hopefully soon after – begin talking about our future relationship.”
May had voiced the necessity “to agree the terms of our future partnership alongside those of our withdrawal from the European Union,” in a six-page letter, triggering Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty, to formally begin the process of exiting the bloc.
French President François Hollande also appeared as a protector of the European Union’s interests, asserting that Brexit “will be painful for the British.”
Emmanuel Macron, the frontrunner in a race to succeed him, also noted that “The question is not to punish the UK for a vote made by British people.”
“My deep wish is to have Britain with the EU in another relationship … [But] my priority will be to protect the European Union, the interests of the European Union, and the interests of European citizens.”