The European Union Affairs Committee and the Foreign Affairs Committee held a sitting today to discuss the results of the British referendum. The Committees supported the position of the government in that the EU must coordinate its activities during the negotiations, and must not allow the spirit of retaliation reign.
The Committees stressed that the UK must be given time to start negotiations on withdrawing from the EU, as decided by the referendum.
“A referendum is a political process and we must respect the decision of the British nation, whether we like it or not,” said the Chairman of the European Union Affairs Committee Kalle Palling. “We must find a peaceful way for the UK to withdraw from the EU, and seek solutions with a balanced mind. For this, the UK has asked for time until October, which is reasonable and serves everyone’s interests,” Palling added.
According to the Chairman of the Foreign Affairs Committee Sven Mikser, Estonia and the other Member States must analyse the development calmly before starting to draw conclusions on the British decision to withdraw. “It would be wrong of the EU to try to pressurise UK to hurry up, or to mete out a showy punishment,” Mikser said. “It would be just as wrong to cover our heads with ashes and blame ourselves, i.e. the other Member States or the institutional structure of the EU for the British decision,” he added.
Prime Minister Taavi Rõivas, who participated at the meeting, said that the negotiations cannot be started before the British have announced their withdrawal. The Prime Minister thinks that any further steps in connection with the withdrawal negotiations should take place without excessive delay, but also without excessive time pressure. He emphasised that the pre-negotiations must not be confined to a smaller circle; instead, all the Member States should participate in finding a common ground.
Estonia’s positions on the withdrawal negotiations of the UK will be represented at the European Council on 28 – 29 June by Prime Minister Rõivas. The agenda of the Council also includes migration, employment, economic growth and investments, and foreign relations.
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