Tusk sees long EU-Britain divorce process if Brexit

12th June 2016, Comments 0 comments

If Britain votes to leave the EU, any negotiations between both sides towards a new relationship could take up to seven years, European Council President Donald Tusk warned Sunday.

The process of dissolving all contractual ties between the bloc and Britain would itself already take two years, Tusk told Bild daily in an interview to be published Monday.

And more time would have to be factored in before a new relationship could be agreed upon, he said.

"Every single one of the 27 member states as well as the European parliament would have to approve the overall result. That would take at least five years, and I'm afraid, without any guarantee of success," added Tusk.

An online opinion poll for the Independent newspaper Friday showed the Brexit camp leading by ten percentage points ahead of the June 23 referendum.

In a stark warning Friday, Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble said Britain would no longer have access to the single market like non-EU members Norway and Switzerland do, should voters opt out.

"In is in. Out is out," he told Spiegel magazine. "I hope and believe that the British will ultimately decide against Brexit. The withdrawal of Britain would be a heavy loss for Europe."

© 2016 AFP

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