BRUSSELS: After Britain voted to leave the European Union, the next hours, days and weeks will be crucial for the future of the bloc.
Here are the next steps after “Brexit”:
With the stability of the global economy at risk, early Friday the European Central Bank is widely expected to make a statement to reassure markets.
The EU’s top officials meet in Brussels at 0830 GMT on Friday.
EU President Donald Tusk, European Commission chief Jean-Claude Juncker, European Parliament head Martin Schulz and Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte, whose country holds the six-month EU presidency, are expected to make a statement and address the press at around 1000 GMT.
The EU’s 28 European Affairs Ministers meet in Luxembourg to lay the groundwork for Brexit talks at the EU summit on June 28-29. Talks start at 1230 GMT.
Foreign ministers from the EU’s six founding countries — France, Germany, Italy, Belgium, the Netherlands and Luxembourg — are expected to meet on Saturday in Berlin, according to European sources.
French President Francois Hollande will meet with German Chancellor Angela Merkel next week to discuss “European initiatives”, expected on Monday.
The Merkel Hollande meet-up could be the occasion to announce plans for a long-rumoured Franco-German initiative on a better integrated defence and security strategy for Europe.
The leaders are seeking to use the plan to dispel doubts on the EU project unleashed by the British vote campaign.
On Monday the European Commission’s top officials, who are nominated by the EU’s 28 member states, begin mapping out the long road to an official Brexit at an extraordinary meeting in Brussels.
MEPs have also called for an extraordinary session of the European Parliament to be held in Brussels on Monday in the case of a Brexit vote.
The 28 EU leaders — still including British Prime Minister David Cameron — meet on June 28 and 29 in Brussels to digest and debate the results of Thursday’s Leave vote.
It was originally due to be held on June 23 but was postponed after the British referendum date was announced.
Cameron may trigger Article 50 of the EU’s Lisbon Treaty, officially notifying EU leaders of Britain’s intention to leave.
On July 1st, the Netherlands hands over the EU’s six-month rotating presidency to the relatively inexperienced Slovakia, which now must lead the negotiations towards Brexit.
Britain had been due to take the helm at the end of 2017 but will now give that up.
EU civil servants delay summer holidays to begin the painstaking legal work to bring about Brexit. The official British divorce from Europe would take at least two years.
But EU president Donald Tusk has warned that the whole process of negotiating trade and immigration deals with a non-EU Britain could take seven years in all.