French President Francois Hollande urged Prime Minister Theresa May on Thursday to quickly come up with a negotiating stance for Britain’s departure from the European Union but agreed she needed time to trigger the formal divorce.
A day after German Chancellor Angela Merkel also endorsed May’s call for some breathing space to prepare for formal talks to end Britain’s membership, May won acceptance from Hollande of her position not to trigger the formal exit procedure this year.
But the French leader, under pressure after a deadly Islamist attack in Nice and keen to dampen the popularity of Marine Le Pen’s far-right National Front, was clear Britain could not put off invoking Article 50 of the EU’s Lisbon Treaty for long.
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