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No favours for UK, must leave EU in two years, says centre-right chief
[BRUSSELS] The European Union will offer Britain no special treatment and it should leave the bloc within the two years set by the EU treaty, the German leader of the main centre-right bloc in the EU parliament said on Friday.
"We respect and regret the decision of the British voters. It causes major damage to both sides, but in first line to the UK," said Manfred Weber, who represents German Chancellor Angela Merkel's political group in the European Parliament.
"Exit negotiations should be concluded within two years," he added in a statement.
"From our point of view, there cannot be any special treatment for the United Kingdom. The British people have expressed their wish to leave the EU.
"Leave means leave. The times of cherry-picking are over."
Speaking to reporters after meeting fellow party leaders in parliament, he said "nobody will be punished" for the vote and that it would be in the interests of business in Britain and the rest of the EU for swift clarity on the legal situation.
However, Britons could not expect to continue access to the EU's single market if they wanted to maintain full control over their affairs without respecting EU rules: "If you want to have full sovereignty that means you cannot have access to the single market of the European Union," he said.
His Socialist opposite number, Italian Gianni Pittella, told reporters: "It's sad but it's not the funeral of the European Union."