German Chancellor Angela Merkel says she fully expects Britain to trigger Article 50, formalizing the UK's vote for Brexit. In a TV interview, she also addressed the issue of Germany's next president.
German Chancellor Merkel said that Britain's decision to leave the European Union will become a reality once a new prime minister is elected to succeed the outgoing David Cameron.
"I am dealing with the realities and I am most certain that this motion will be put in place," Merkel told the German national broadcaster ZDF, referring to Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty, which will initiate two years of exit talks between the EU and Britain.
"I absolutely believe that the request will be made," Merkel added following earlier comments that the negotiations should take place in the spirit of the future partnership between the UK and EU while stressing that the UK would not get to leave the EU and keep all the privileges of EU membership.
"They will first do that when they have a new prime minister as far as I can see."
Merkel's comments, however, were not in line with views expressed by Norbert Lammert, the speaker of Germany's lower house of the parliament, the Bundestag, who had said that Britain's decision to leave the bloc was not a done deal yet.
British Home Secretary Theresa May and Vote Leave campaigner and junior energy minister Andrea Leadsom are currently competing for David Cameron's job, after the prime minister announced his resignation following his failed campaign to stay in the EU. British Conservatives must now choose their new leader - who will also become prime minister - on September 9.
Negotiations with Turkey
Other issues highlighted in the TV interview included Germany's ongoing diplomatic spat with Turkey. A key ally of Germany, Turkey recently took the decision to deny German parliamentarians and diplomats permission to visit German soldiers stationed at the Incirlik military base on Turkish soil. The directive came after Germany's lower house of parliament, the Bundestag, had voted almost unanimously in recognition of the Ottoman era Armenian genocide, which Turkey - as the state succeeding the Ottoman Empire - denies.
"It's essential our MPs can travel to Turkey, to Incirlik, to visit their soldiers. We have a parliamentary army," Merkel remarked.
The interview also highlighted questions about who would become Germany's next president. Joachim Gauck, the current president, had announced earlier in the year that he would not be up for reelection. The ceremonial head-of-state and de facto chief executive is elected by the Federal Assembly, which consists of the Bundestag and an equal number of representatives sent from the 16 federal states.