Riigikogu committees: Brits shouldn’t be hurried or pressured into leaving
The European Union Affairs Committee and the Foreign Affairs Committee of the Riigikogu discussed the outcome of the UK’s EU membership referendum on Monday. The joint meeting of the committees stressed that the UK needed to be given time to start negotiations over leaving the EU.
“A referendum is a democratic process, and the decision of the British people has to be honored, whether we like it or not,” chairman of the European Union Affairs Committee Kalle Palling (Reform) said. “A peaceful way must be found for the UK’s exit from the EU, and level-headedness is called for in finding solutions. The Brits have requested time for this until at least October, which is reasonable and serves all parties’ interests,” he added.
Chairman of the Foreign Affairs Committee, Sven Mikser (SDE), said a sober analysis of what happened had to take place in Estonia and other member states before making conclusions about the reasons for the Brits’ decision to leave. “It would be wrong of the EU to try to hurry Britain or demonstratively punish it,” Mikser said. “But in exactly the same way, it would be wrong to wear sackcloth and ashes and blame ourselves, that is, the rest of the EU members, or the institutional architecture of the Union, for the Brits’ decision.”
According to Prime Minister Taavi Rõivas (Reform), who attended the meeting, negotiations can’t begin until the UK gives formal notification of its wish to leave. In the prime minister’s words, further steps connected with talks should take place without excessive delay, as well as without excessive time pressure.
Rõivas emphasized that preliminary negotiations definitely shouldn't be held in a narrower circle, but that all member states should participate in finding a common ground.
Estonia's positions regarding UK exit talks will be presented by the prime minister in the European Council meeting starting on Tuesday. Migration, employment, economic growth and investments, and external relations are also on the meeting’s agenda.