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The rest of the EU is ready to move on already, ambassador says

O'Sullivan: We do need clarity and to move on

The EU is becoming impatient with Great Britain as it is unclear when the nation will begin the legal processes that will officially end its time with the union.

Article 50 of the Treaty on the European Union must be initiated by a country to formally withdraw from the union. The withdrawing country must notify the European Council on its wish to exit. Negotiations for withdrawal arrangements then begin between the EU member states and the departing member.

These negotiations can take up to two years and will determine the future relationship between an exited Great Britain and the rest of the European Union.

The UK seems to be awaiting the election of a new prime minister before triggering Article 50, which is causing tension for the remaining members of the European Union.

"People need the U.K. to be respectful of the fact that the remaining 27 members of the EU also have political imperatives, they have domestic constituencies, they have an economic stake in this and at some point, we do need to have clarity about the direction in which we are moving," said David O'Sullivan, the European Union ambassador to United States.

Great Britain is expected to begin the Article 50 process following the election of its next prime minister. O'Sullivan said he understands that the U.K. needs time to make its next political move, but the European Union members would like to go forward.

"Uncertainty is the enemy of us all, including in economic and commercial terms," O'Sullivan said.

The U.K.'s prime minster election will have a heavy impact how the Article 50 negotiations play out.

"If our European partners say good riddance — if British politics, especially in the conservative party says 'OK, we'll just take our bat and ball home,' — the danger is that it's worse for the economy, productivity, jobs and investments," said Ed Balls, former Shadow Chancellor of the Exchequer (Labour) and current senior fellow at Harvard Kennedy School's Mossavar-Rahmani Center for Business and Government.