Phil Hogan says leadership contests could slow the process down
Ireland’s EU Commissioner for agriculture and rural development says there can be no negotiations about the future of Britain in the bloc until the British government triggers Article 50.
Phil Hogan told the Irish Times: “The Commission and the European Council will not be negotiating until article 50 has been triggered. Let there be no doubt about that.”
He also said that decisions around the leadership of the two major parties there – the Conservatives and Labour – need to be resolved before any serious decisions are made.
“That could delays things,” he added.
“People are effectively standing back and nothing is going to happen until political stability is restored in the UK.”
Under Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty – the mechanism that allows a country to leave the European Union – it is up to that country when they trigger it.
After this is done, their membership automatically expires two years later – regardless of whether a deal has been reached with the EU.
But it is entirely up to that country, in this case the UK, when they decide to start the clock ticking on Article 50.
When this is done, the European Council then provides guidelines for negotiations between the EU and the UK, with the aim of concluding an agreement setting out concrete withdrawal arrangements.
But informal discussions can take place between it and other member states, such as Ireland, prior to the notification.
Mr Hogan will be in the UK on Friday, attending the Kent County Show.
He will meet with Kent County Agricultural Society directors, and attend the presentation ceremony of awards.
His comments come after tens of thousands of people marched through London to protest against the vote to leave the EU.
The March For Europe was organised on social media by comedian Mark Thomas, who wanted to express his "anger, frustration and need to do something".
He said: "We would accept the result of the referendum if it was fought on a level playing field. But it was full of misinformation and people need to do something with their frustration."