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Europe entering a “period of uncertainty”: CIA

European Union

Washington : Europe is entering a “period of uncertainty” following Britain’s vote to leave the EU which may be facing its “greatest challenge” since the inception of the 28-member politico-economic bloc in 1993, CIA chief John Brennan has warned.

“No member state has ever left the Union, so Europe is entering a period of uncertainty as the UK and the European Union (EU) take stock of the situation and begin staking out their negotiating positions,” said Brennan, the Director of the US’ top spy agency.

“As you well know, the United Kingdom voted last week to leave the European Union. Of all the crises the EU has faced in recent years, the UK vote to leave the EU may well be its greatest challenge,” he said.

Brennan said yesterday in his appearance before the Council on Foreign Relations, a top American think-tank, that Brexit vote will not adversely affect the intelligence partnership between the US and the UK in the years to come.

“I spoke to my counterpart in London early Monday morning, and we reaffirmed to one another that the bonds of friendship and cooperation between our services are only destined to grow stronger in the years ahead. These ties are and will always be essential to our collective security, Brennan said.

“Brexit is pushing the European Union (EU) into a period of introspection that will pervade virtually everything the EU does in the coming weeks, months, and even years ahead,” he said.

He said Euroskeptics around Europe, including in Denmark, France, Italy and the Netherlands were demanding their own referendums on multiple EU issues.

“This will surely make decision-making and forging consensus in the EU much harder,” Brennan said.

“Discussions about how an exit will work will dominate the EU agenda in the months ahead. Negotiations for the exit agreement will not begin until the prime minister formally notifies the EU of the UK’s intention to leave, which Prime Minister David Cameron has said will occur under his successor,” he said.

“EU and member-state leaders, excluding the UK will be meeting in the coming days and weeks to begin laying the groundwork for those negotiations,” he said.

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