Belgian to head EU Brexit task force

Foreign ministers of the six founding members of the European project meet to discuss the bloc's future in the wake of Britain's decision to leave.
Foreign ministers of the six founding members of the European project meet to discuss the bloc's future in the wake of Britain's decision to leave.PHOTO: AFP

BRUSSELS (AFP) - The EU said on Saturday (June 25) it had appointed Belgian Didier Seeuws, a longtime aide to former EU president Herman Van Rompuy, to head the union's special task force to negotiate Britain's exit.

"I can confirm that... there is a task force which will handle all negotiations," Preben Aamann, a spokesman for current EU president Donald Tusk, told AFP, confirming Seeuws had been appointed to lead it.

Aamann said Seeuws was currently doing preparatory work, with the negotiations yet to get under way pending a British decision to formally inform the council that it wanted to leave the European Union.

Tusk and his EU peers said Friday the talks, however difficult they might be, should begin as soon as possible to end the uncertainty caused by Britain's vote on Thursday to quit the 28-nation bloc.

British Prime Minister David Cameron, announcing his resignation after the vote, said he would leave the negotiations to his successor, expected to take office in October.

European Parliament President Martin Schulz said Saturday that Cameron's decision to wait until October to leave was "scandalous" and tantamount to "taking the whole (European) continent hostage".