The Latest: Merkel: Britain should still be seen as a friend


BRUSSELS (AP) — The Latest on Britain’s vote to leave the European Union (all times local):

4:05 p.m.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel says it is “important that we still view Britain as a friend and partner,” despite its decision to leave the bloc.

She insisted though that “there will be no informal or formal talks before Britain has used Article 50” of the EU treaty, which will formally start the process of negotiating Britain’s withdrawal from the 28-nation bloc.

Merkel was speaking as she arrived at a summit of EU leaders in Brussels Tuesday.

With the departure of Britain from the EU, the role of Germany is widely expected to become even more predominant.

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4:00 p.m.

The string of incidents involving harassment of immigrants reported after Britain’s vote to leave the European Union is continuing.

On Tuesday a group of white British men wearing shirts calling for the “repatriation” of immigrants started shouting at a Turkish family a few blocks away from Parliament and Big Ben.

Adalet Abdullatif, 28, from Istanbul, said the family had come to see relatives and “to show our children some of the tourist sites.”

He said: “All of a sudden these men come out of nowhere, shouting at us and telling us to go home. We thought they were going to attack us. It’s frightening for us and for our children.”

In Manchester city center, there was a confrontation on a tram when three white teenagers started shouting vulgar abuse at a man and, according to an eyewitness, telling him to be deported. At one point the youths threw a liquid on the man.

Police said there had been several cases of vandalism and xenophobic graffiti sprawled on London buildings overnight.

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3:50 p.m.

French President Francois Hollande is urging Britain to start talks on leaving the EU “as fast as possible” and says the rest of the union has “no time to lose” to plan its future without the British.

Hollande spoke Tuesday upon arrival at an exceptional EU summit dealing with Britain’s vote to leave last week. No country has left the EU, formed to prevent conflict via free trade after two world wars.

Hollande acknowledges it is a historic moment but insisted “history continues” and said “Europe doesn’t stop” with the British exit vote.

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3:25 p.m.

Luxembourg Prime Minister Xavier Bettel is clearly from the social media age, even when he discusses the departure of Britain from the European Union.

The 43-year-old leader of the Grand Duchy was looking for clarity following last week’s British referendum to leave the bloc and wanted talks to be clear-cut and start as soon as possible.

“We are not on Facebook, where things are complicated. We are married or divorced but not something in between,” Bettel said.

He also wants the other EU nations to make clear where the future lies when they meet without British Prime minister David Cameron on Wednesday. “What I want is that at 27, we get a deal on a roadmap to have clarity. The worst would be to disagree and not know where we are going.”

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3:15 p.m.

Scotland’s First Minister Nicola Sturgeon says there can’t be three months of drift until a new leader is chosen for United Kingdom after the prime minister announced his resignation following the country’s referendum vote to leave the European Union.

Sturgeon said Tuesday she will be traveling to Brussels on Wednesday to make Scotland’s views known. Speaking at the Scottish parliament at Holyrood she said being removed from the EU would be against the will of the Scottish people.

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2:15 p.m.

Germany says that if Britain restricts the right of European Union migrants to live and work in Britain it can’t expect unrestricted access to the bloc’s common market.

Concerns about EU migrants were one of the main factors driving the “leave” campaign in Britain’s referendum on EU membership.

A spokesman for Germany’s Foreign Ministry, Martin Schaefer, said Tuesday that restrictions on EU migrants would have “consequences” for Britain’s ability to trade with the remaining 27 members of the EU.

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2:10 p.m.

British Prime Minister David Cameron says he hopes talks on Britain leaving the EU can be as constructive as possible and insists the British people “mustn’t turn our backs on Europe.”

Arriving at a historic EU summit at which he will announce his country is leaving the bloc, Cameron said, “These countries are our neighbors, our friends, our allies, our partners.”

Cameron announced his resignation after last week’s British referendum to leave the EU and has said his successor will negotiate the departure.

He said Tuesday: “I very much hope we’ll seek the closest possible relationship in terms of trade and cooperation and security, because that is good for us and good for them.”

Britain is the first country to leave the EU.

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2 p.m.

NATO’s chief plans to attend a European Union summit to discuss the security implications of Britain’s vote to leave the EU and how the two organizations should respond.

Jens Stoltenberg, the NATO secretary-general, is expected to meet with EU leaders Tuesday afternoon as they begin a two-day summit in Brussels.

British voters’ decision last Thursday to quit the EU confronts the bloc with a major internal rift at the same time it faces numerous challenges from outside, including a migrant crisis, a resurgent Russia and violent extremist groups like Islamic State.

NATO and the EU have been increasingly trying to coordinate their response to such security threats. Brussels-based analyst Bruno Lete said the internal division in the EU caused by Britain’s exit is “bad news” for that effort.

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1:55 p.m.

The U.N. human rights chief is urging British authorities to stop “xenophobic attacks” that have surged in number following Britain’s decision to leave the European Union.

Zeid Ra’ad al-Hussein says Tuesday he is “deeply concerned” about reports of attacks targeting minority communities and foreigners in Britain. Concerns about immigration were a key factor in Britain’s vote Thursday to leave the 28-country bloc.

The rights chief urged British authorities to prosecute those behind the attacks, saying racism and xenophobia are “completely, totally and utterly unacceptable in any circumstances.”

Britain’s National Police Chiefs’ Council on Monday reported a 57percent rise in hate-crime complaints over the past four days compared to the same period in May. Police are investigating vandalism at a Polish cultural center in west London, among other incidents.

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1:45 p.m.

Sweden’s immigration agency says they have seen six times more British nationals applying for Sweden citizenship than normal, saying it is too early to say whether that is a trend.

Annette Grafen Silander, a spokeswoman for Migrationsverket, says the government agency has seen “a record” 129 applications since Thursday’s vote in Britain on leaving the 28-nation European Union. In contrast, she says the normal rate is about 20 submissions per week. Sweden is a member of the EU but, like Britain, has its own currency.

Silander didn’t speculate as to what may have caused the increase, but Gavin Maycroft, a Briton who has lived in Sweden for nine years, told Swedish radio “the obvious reason is that I want to stay within the EU and I want to make sure that I securely keep myself within it.”

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1:25 p.m.

EU President Donald Tusk says holding off on a meeting of EU leaders on the bloc’s future until September will avoid rushing into reform after the British decided to leave in a referendum vote.

The meeting will be in Slovakia, which will hold the EU presidency at that time. Britain will not be invited.

“We need a few weeks to prepare this process and maybe the best place will be Bratislava,” said Tusk.

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1:20 p.m.

European Council chief Donald Tusk says the EU will hold a meeting in the Slovak capital, Bratislava, in September to assess the European Union’s future in the wake of Britain’s vote to leave the bloc.

Speaking in Brussels, he said he said the union would, however, not be able to begin negotiations on the exit until the British government has formally declared its intention to go. That “is the only legal way,” he said.

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12:10 p.m.

Nigel Farage, the leader of the anti-Europe U.K. Independence Party, says that the British “now offer a beacon of hope” to the rest of the European continent” after they voted to leave the European Union last week.

Farage predicted that “the U.K. will not be the last member state to leave the European Union.” In the wake of last Thursday’s vote, opposition parties in the Netherlands, France and Finland have already called for similar votes on whether to stay or leave the EU.

Farage said that he wanted out negotiations to start swiftly but insisted that “even no deal is better for the United Kingdom than the current rotten deal that we got.”

Farage was booed and jeered when he urged the EU to give Britain a good trade deal when it leaves, saying that jobs in Germany’s auto sector might be at stake if it didn’t.

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11:45 a.m.

One of opposition Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn’s closest allies has acknowledged he may lose a vote of no confidence being pressed by party lawmakers following Britain’s vote to leave the European Union.

Diane Abbott, the party’s spokeswoman on health issues, says a leadership contest is now inevitable to oust Corbyn, who offered lackluster support for Britain staying in the 28 nation bloc.

Some 40 members of Corbyn’s inner circle have resigned, accusing Corbyn of lacking the ability to lead the party. Party rebels hope that a vote of no confidence will force him to quit.

Abbott acknowledged Corbyn could lose the no confidence vote. Corbyn’s supporters say he will stand again for the leadership and will win again because of his strong standing with the party’s grass roots.

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11:20 a.m.

British treasury chief George Osborne says tax rises and spending cuts are inevitable now that the country has voted to leave the Europe Union.

Osborne says his stark predictions about the impact on the public finances “have started to be borne out by events” such as a tumbling pound and spiraling markets. Osborne told the BBC that it is very clear “that the country is going to be poorer.”

Osborne stood by predictions that a new austerity budget would need to be implemented, but says that will have to wait until a successor is chosen for Prime Minister David Cameron.

Cameron has announced he will resign in the fall to allow a new leader to take negotiations forward for Britain’s exit.

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11:15 a.m.

The Dutch presidency of the European Union is mounting pressure on Britain to make haste with its withdrawal from the bloc after last week’s referendum.

Dutch Defense Minister Jeanine Hennis-Plasschaert told a special session of the EU parliament that “No one, no one, will benefit from a period of prolonged limbo. The ball is in London’s court.”

She said that “cool heads must now prevail” to chart the way ahead. Britain has said it might not officially start the talks to withdraw for months. Hennis-Plasschaert acknowledged that the U.K. needs time, given the political chaos in the country. Yet she wants to make the transition as short as possible.

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11:10 a.m.

London Mayor Sadiq Khan says the capital needs more autonomy to adjust to the new reality of Britain leaving the European Union.

In a speech to business leaders Tuesday, Khan says that more autonomy is needed to protect the economy from the uncertainty ahead. Khan says he isn’t “asking for London to get a bigger slice of the British pie,” only for Londoners to “get more control over the slice of the pie we already get.”

Khan wants the devolution of fiscal responsibility including tax-raising powers, as well as more control over business and skills, housing and planning, transport, health, policing and criminal justice.

Though London has some independence, city leaders do not have the same powers as other global cities, such as New York.

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11 a.m.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel says she will use “all her strength” to prevent the European Union from drifting apart in the wake of Britain’s decision to leave the trade bloc.

In an address Tuesday to Parliament before she heads to Brussels to meet with other leaders, Merkel said expected that Britain would want to maintain “close relations” with the EU once it leaves, but also signaled that it could not expect a business as usual approach.

“Whoever wants to leave this family cannot expect to have no more obligations but to keep privileges,” she said.

Merkel reiterated that there can be no talks with Britain on leaving the EU until Britain starts formal procedure to leave.

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10:45 a.m.

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The EU Commission chief says he is banning any informal and secretive negotiations on a British exit until the nation formally notifies it wants to leave the European Union in the wake of last week’s referendum vote.

Jean-Claude Juncker told a special session of parliament that “I want the UK to clarify its position, not today, not tomorrow at 9 am, but soon. We cannot allow ourselves to remain in a prolonged period of uncertainty.”

Britain has indicated it might not officially notify for several months, perhaps until October, leaving the 27 other nations in political limbo. Yet Juncker refuses to start talks with London before that.

He said there will be no secret meetings between UK, national governments and commissioners in the corridors. “I ban that,” Juncker said.

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10:30 a.m.

The Dutch presidency of the European Union is mounting pressure on Britain to make haste with its withdrawal from the bloc after last week’s referendum.

Dutch Minister Jeanine Hennis-Plasschaert told a special session of the EU parliament that “No one, no one, will benefit from a period of prolonged limbo. The ball is in London’s court,” she said.

She said that “cool heads must now prevail” to chart the way ahead. Britain has said it might not officially start the talks to withdraw for months now. Hennis-Plasschaert acknowledged that the UK needs time, given the political chaos in the country. Yet she wants to make the transition as short as possible.

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10:15 a.m.

Prime Minister David Cameron will be meeting European Union leaders in the first session since the U.K. voted to leave the 28-nation bloc.

Cameron will discuss the implications Tuesday of the Brexit vote as markets gyrated. He has insisted the vote won’t send the economy into a tailspin, even as the country was stripped of its top credit rating and stock markets.

Calling the vote a “seminal event” that “will lead to a less predictable, stable and effective policy framework” Standard & Poor’s knocked the U.K.’s sovereign rating by two notches on Monday, from AAA to AA. Hours later, Fitch Ratings followed suit.

The impact of the vote is shaking this nation of 64 million. Cameron has announced his resignation and challengers are lining up to replace him

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