Angela Merkel: There's no need to be nasty to Britain after Leave vote
Angela Merkel has said there is “no need to be nasty to Britain” following the vote to leave the European Union.
The comment comes as Britain faces growing pressure to invoke Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty, which will trigger a two-year window of negotiations before the UK formally leaves the EU.
David Cameron, however, wants to let his successor, who will take over in October, decide when to start the exit talks.
“We have to move on... we need to turn the page,” said Bert Koenders, the Dutch foreign minister.
European Commission president Jean Claude Juncker said Britons have “made their opinion crystal clear”.
He added: “I do not understand why the British government needs until October to decide whether to send the divorce letter to Brussels.
“It is not an amicable divorce, but it was also not an intimate love affair.”
But Ms Merkel said Britain should not be rushed into talks and that they should be conducted in “an objective, good climate”.
“To be honest, it shouldn’t take for ever, that’s right — but I would not fight over a short period of time.”
She added there was “no need to be particularly nasty in the negotiations”.
One of Ms Merkel’s aides told The Sunday Times: “Britain can refuse to invoke article 50, but we can refuse to negotiate and then the new British government will remain in a state of limbo.
“It must also be clear that each of the 27 remaining countries will have an opinion that must be considered — these will not be bilateral discussions between Britain and Germany or others, but between Britain and the EU.”