France And Germany Push For Tighter EU Integration

Morning Star | 28 June, 2016

FRANCE and Germany’s foreign ministers demanded closer integration and more control from Brussels yesterday in the wake of Britain’s vote to leave.

France’s Jean-Marc Ayrault said that the British decision “could help Europeans become aware that Europe needs to come closer together.”

He and Germany’s Frank-Walter Steinmeier suggested a common European prosecutor for terrorism and organised crime, an international coastguard and joint border-guard units.

The Paris and Berlin alliance — widely seen as the traditional motor of the union — was responsible for “better cohesion and solidarity,” they said, though neither questioned Brussels’s crippling austerity agenda being imposed on southern European countries.

At the same time European leaders argued that Britain’s departure should be sped up.

Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi said Brussels could not afford to spend a “year on procedures” for the exit, arguing it had already spent a year on negotiations before the vote.

He was due to meet French President Francois Hollande and German Chancellor Angela Merkel to discuss the fallout from Britain’s decision as the Star went to press.

Ms Merkel said a meeting of EU leaders today would determine how much time Britain needs, having stated that she had “a certain amount of understanding” that London might require “a certain amount of time” before making a move.

Conservative Prime Minister David Cameron is seeking to delay invoking Article 50 — which would trigger a two-year exit negotiation — until October, when his replacement as Tory leader might be in place.

Finland’s Prime Minister Juha Sipila added that Britain should leave “as soon as possible” but qualified that by saying autumn would be a “suitable” time.

The only senior politician who hinted that a second referendum — ruled out yesterday by Downing Street — could be held on the question was the leader of Poland’s right-wing Law & Justice Party, Jaroslaw Kaczynski.

Mr Kaczynski said Britain’s vote to leave was all the fault of his long-term rival, former Polish prime minister and current European Council president Donald Tusk.

Mr Tusk, a former leader of the opposition Civic Platform, should “disappear from European politics,” Mr Kaczynski said.

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