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UK Forms Special Unit to Explore Options of Brexit - ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive
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London – Five days after the Brexit shock, British leaders are trying to gain some time amid internal disputes. Meanwhile European leaders are looking for a joint strategy concerning the drastic changes.

While Europeans are calling for fast exit, London announced the formation of a special unit of civil servants that would focus on exploring options for the U.K.’s future relationship with Europe and the rest of the world from outside of the EU.

Chancellor George Osborne tried to reassure the stock market stressing that UK will not start with the exit procedures yet. He said that Prime Minister David Cameron had “sensibly delayed” triggering Article 50 – the formal notification of an intention to leave the EU.

“Only the UK can do this, and we should not be rushed. It should only happen when we have a clear view of what our new relationship with our European allies should be, and this will need time and cool heads to determine,” according to Osborne.

Tension had risen in London market after stocks of banks and airlines fell and the British Pound reached its lowest level in 31 years.

According to a poll published yesterday, one out of five British companies are planning on moving its activity and two-thirds of the “pollers” believe that leaving the EU is bad for their business.

The leading pro-Leave campaigner Borris Johnson said the 52-48 result was “not entirely overwhelming”. In an unusual conciliating tone, Johnson said that Britain would always be “part of Europe” and “there will continue to be free trade, and access to the single market”.

In his article published in the Daily Telegraph, Johnson added that leaving EU won’t be done hastily. Johnson believed that both Brexit and Remain voters must build bridges.

“We must reach out, we must heal, we must build bridges – because it is clear that some have feelings of dismay, of loss, and confusion,” he commented.

Johnsons is one of the most promising candidates to replace Cameron as prime minister, facing Minister of Defense Theresa May.

Large numbers of Britons are still finding it hard to accept the results, as poll began demanding a new Brexit referendum with over 2 million signing the petition.

An Irish student, Jimmy Mctire, told AFP that he was planning on studying in Spain but he’s not so sure now he’ll be included on the exchange list “if we are no longer citizens of the EU.”

On the other hand, Polish Embassy in London issued a statement condemning the hate crimes that targeted members of the Polish community. The embassy has said it is “shocked

and deeply concerned” by reports of xenophobic abuse directed against the Polish community following the Brexit vote.

Multiple incidents of alleged hate crimes have been reported since the Brexit result last week, with claims that immigrants and their descendants are being stopped in the street and “ordered to leave Britain”. Prime Minister Cameron condemned the incidents as well.

Meanwhile, Europeans are trying to organize and unite their position following the Brexit.

German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier and French Foreign Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault issued a joint position paper during which they called for furthering the political integration in Europe.

In the document, the ministers said, “We will therefore strive for a political union in Europe and invite the next Europeans to participate in this venture.”

A more lenient position was from German Chancellor Angela Merkel who said she understands that Britain may need “a certain amount of time to analyze things” after Thursday’s vote to leave the EU. But she added that a “long-term suspension” would be in no one’s best interests.

Meanwhile, Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi said that Europe can’t waste more time and “must move”.

Leader of the ruling Law and Justice party Jaroslaw Kaczynski declared that Warsaw hopes UK will have a second referendum to return to the EU. He said the “idea for today… foresees efforts aimed at making Britain return by conducting a second vote.”

“Britain today risks falling apart,” Kaczynski added.

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry told the press in Brussels that it is important to remain focused during this transition period. He then addressed European leaders asking them to remain calm and “protect the values and interests that we share in common.”

Scotland’s first minister Nicola Sturgeon declared that, “U.K. Scotland voted to remain within in 2014 doesn’t exist anymore.” She hoped a new referendum will take place about Scotland’s independence.

In 2014, Scotland voted to remain part of the UK by 55% to 45%.

Labor Party leader Jermey Corbyn said that he will not betray the trust of those who voted for him. He called on people to unite together to oppose racism but did not address the challenge to his leadership.

Asharq Al-Awsat

Asharq Al-Awsat

Asharq Al-Awsat is the world’s premier pan-Arab daily newspaper, printed simultaneously each day on four continents in 14 cities. Launched in London in 1978, Asharq Al-Awsat has established itself as the decisive publication on pan-Arab and international affairs, offering its readers in-depth analysis and exclusive editorials, as well as the most comprehensive coverage of the entire Arab world.

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