European Council President Donald Tusk and European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker have told MEPs that although shocked by the UK's decision to give up its EU membership, the remaining 27 member states have agreed that there will be no negotiations on future relations with Britain until London officially triggers the article 50 exit mechanism.
UK Prime Minister David Cameron, who is to step down in the coming months, has refused to invoke article 50 - which would formally initiate divorce proceedings between Brussels and Britain - instead leaving the decision with his as-yet-to-be-determined successor.
Speaking on Tuesday in Strasbourg, European Council President Donald Tusk, who insisted that discussions between EU heads of state last week had been "calm and measured", said, "the leaders understand that some time is needed to allow the political landscape to settle in Britain. But they also expect the intentions of the UK government to be specified as soon as possible."
He also said that the European Central Bank had warned that, "Brexit means substantially lower growth in the UK, with a possible negative spillover all over the world."
Tusk added, "We hope to have the UK as a close partner in the future. But [EU] leaders made it clear that access to the single market means acceptance of all four freedoms, including freedom of movement. We will not sell off our freedoms and there will be no single market 'à la carte'."
European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker lashed out at leading Brexit campaigners,such as Boris Johnson and Nigel Farage saying, "They are retro-nationalists, not patriots. A Patriot would not leave the boat when the situation becomes difficult." Farage has stepped down as Ukip leader, while Johnson has been widely criticised for his performance following the surprise Leave victory on June 23.
Juncker also criticised Leave campaigners for not having a post-referendum plan: "I could understand that the Remain camp needs weeks to reflect, but I do not understand that the Brexit camp needs months before knowing what to do. I would have thought they had a plan. Instead of developing a plan, they are leaving the boat."
On the topic of article 50, Juncker echoed the view of Tusk and the remaining 27 EU member states saying, "I totally agree with President Tusk: we are waiting for the notification - no negotiation before notification. And those who want to have a free access to the internal market have to respect the four freedoms including the freedom of movement. This has to be done."