EU Leaders Deliver Tough Message To David Cameron At Post-Brexit Summit Britain's European Union partners had a tough message for Prime Minister David Cameron at their first post-Brexit vote summit in Brussels. They said the United Kingdom should leave promptly and shouldn't expect the same trade benefits the country previously enjoyed.
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EU Leaders Deliver Tough Message To David Cameron At Post-Brexit Summit

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EU Leaders Deliver Tough Message To David Cameron At Post-Brexit Summit

EU Leaders Deliver Tough Message To David Cameron At Post-Brexit Summit

EU Leaders Deliver Tough Message To David Cameron At Post-Brexit Summit

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  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/483890254/483944102" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
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Britain's European Union partners had a tough message for Prime Minister David Cameron at their first post-Brexit vote summit in Brussels. They said the United Kingdom should leave promptly and shouldn't expect the same trade benefits the country previously enjoyed.

ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

Britain's prime minister, David Cameron, had to face fellow European leaders today in Brussels for the first time since his country voted to leave the European Union. It will probably be the last time he attends an EU summit, and the day was awkward. On the agenda - discussions about how to carry out what is likely to be a painful divorce. NPR's Eleanor Beardsley reports from Brussels.

ELEANOR BEARDSLEY, BYLINE: The atmosphere was tense as leaders arrived for the two-day summit to deal with an issue they never thought they'd have to face. Until now countries have only wanted to get into the EU. Reporters pounced on British Prime Minister David Cameron as he arrived.

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DAVID CAMERON: Well, good afternoon. I'll be explaining that Britain will be leaving the European Union, but I want that process to be as constructive as possible. And I hope the outcome can be as constructive as possible because of course while we're leaving the European Union, we mustn't be turning our backs on Europe. These countries are our neighbors, our friends, our allies, our partners.

BEARDSLEY: Five days after a shock referendum that saw 52 percent of Brits vote to sever ties with the EU, London is begging for time to deal with something it seems completely unprepared for. In a pre-summit meeting yesterday, the leaders of Germany, France and Italy said the separation process would not start until Britain invokes Article 50 of the EU treaty.

Cameron has said he will leave that up to his successor in October. But if Britain thinks it can take months, French President Francois Hollande saw things differently.

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FRANCOIS HOLLANDE: (Speaking French).

HOLLANDE: "I regret the vote," said Hollande, "but it's now time to face the consequences." Hollande said, Europe needs Britain to invoke the leave charter as soon as possible so we can organize things in everyone's best interest, he said - Britain's and especially Europe's.

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UNIDENTIFIED MAN: (Foreign language spoken).

BEARDSLEY: The real fireworks today were at the European Parliament which called an extraordinary session. A large majority of the 751 members backed a resolution calling on Britain to rapidly trigger Article 50.

Many members directed their anger at Nigel Farage, the British politician and member of the European Parliament who spearheaded the leave campaign. Guy Verhofstadt of Belgium said Farage had created...

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GUY VERHOFSTADT: A toxic climate that is bad for business, bad for investment, bad, Mr. Farage, for all hardworking, ordinary, decent people.

BEARDSLEY: Farage accused the European Union of being in denial. Speaking to reporters later, Farage said...

(SOUNDBITE OF PRESS CONFERENCE)

NIGEL FARAGE: The European Union's finished. It doesn't work. You know, we just had the honor in Britain of being the first country that rejected membership. You know, you could be next. It could be Denmark next. It could be Dexit.

BEARDSLEY: A very different message came from Scotland, part of the United Kingdom which voted overwhelmingly to stay in the EU. Alyn Smith of the Scottish National Party issued an impassioned appeal.

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BEARDSLEY: But colleagues, there's a lot of things to be negotiated. We will need cool heads but warm hearts. But please remember this. Scotland did not let you down. Please, I beg you. Cher collegue, do not let Scotland down now.

(APPLAUSE)

BEARDSLEY: Though Britain is still technically in the Union, tomorrow it has been excluded from meetings where the 27 remaining leaders of the EU will try to stop the contagion and build a new European Union for the future. Eleanor Beardsley, NPR News, Brussels.

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