Prime Minister Taavi Rõivas (Reform) said on Tuesday that the fact that the UK had lost more money in just a few days than it would have had to invest in its EU membership over the coming decades was just a first hint that eurosceptics in other member states wouldn’t be able to use Brexit for their own politics.
The promises the Leave campaign had made to its followers had turned out to be castles in the air, the prime minister said. The loud-mouthed promise of the UK Independence Party’s Nigel Farage to redirect hundreds of millions of pounds from the EU to the country’s National Health Service was gone within hours after the result of the referendum became known.
The promises made by the leaders of the Leave campaign were hard to put into practice, and several had already been taken back, Rõivas said.
EU Council presidency: Estonia wants to know as soon as possible
If the United Kingdom should withdraw from its presidency of the EU Council set for July to December 2017, Estonia would very likely be looking at the longest presidency in the history of the council. This would mean that the government needed to speed up its preparations considerably.
“The presidency is a great challenge. If we have to change the duration of the presidency, it becomes an even bigger challenge, and we need to know about this as soon as possible,” Rõivas said to ERR on Tuesday.
Estonia wanted to hear within a week whether or not the UK was planning to go ahead with its own council presidency next year, the prime minister said.
The mood among EU leaders was calm, and people were considering things carefully. Rõivas said that in his opinion this was the right way to go, and that the United Kingdom shouldn’t be pushed to act quickly. At the same time, the decision couldn’t be postponed forever: “This would be shortsighted and wrong,” Rõivas said.
Editor: Editor: Dario Cavegn