German chancellor Angela Merkel has cautioned that the EU and UK cannot be stuck in a 'permanent impasse' when it comes to negotiations over Britain leaving the European Union. The UK voted to exit the 28-nation bloc on 23 June.
Merkel said that she did not want to pressure the UK to slow or accelerate her exit from the union, but warned that no informal negotiations could begin before the UK officially applied to leave. British Prime Minister David Cameron has implied the UK would not trigger Article 50, which would formally start so-called divorce proceedings, until after he has stepped down around October.
She stated: "I expect at a definite point in time Great Britain to give notice of Article 50 to the European Union. I believe we should see the chronological order as a message from the British government being sent. I have neither a brake nor an accelerator, rather I have the job of reflecting when this message arrives about how exactly we implement it. Article 50 says very specifically how that goes."
The German chancellor added: "It must be clear that there can be no informal negotiation before the intention of separating from the European Union is officially declared. We cannot start any informal talks without having the message from Great Britain. That is very clear for me".
Merkel's comments appear in stark contrast to the chief executive of Vote Leave in the UK Matthew Elliot, who said that the government should begin informal talks on a full settlement.