11:40 GMT20 February 2020
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    The legal challenge over the United Kingdom’s presence in the European Economic Area (EEA) will not delay the country’s exit from the European Union, UK Defense Secretary Michael Fallon said Monday.

    MOSCOW (Sputnik) — Earlier in the day, a UK pro-single market think tank British Influence said that since Brexit did not mean that the United Kingdom would automatically leave the EEA, the decision should be approved by the Parliament, otherwise the organization would demand legal clarification. The UK government's position is that the EEA membership ends with Brexit.

    "There is a legal case going on at the moment, which will be resolved very quickly. And we will start the negotiations in the spring so there’s no delay to getting these negotiations underway," Fallon told the BBC Radio 4 Today program.

    The defense secretary added that the UK lawmakers had a debate on "Brexit and how it affected the future in Britain" last week but stressed that the government was not going to "open up … entire negotiating hand, precisely because it concerns a lot of the complexities."

    UK Prime Minister Theresa May has pledged to trigger Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty, which will kick-start the withdrawal process and begin negotiations over the post-Brexit relationship with Europe, by the end of March.

    On June 23, the United Kingdom held a referendum to determine whether or not the country should leave the European Union. According to the final results, 51.9 percent of voters, or 17.4 million people, decided to support Brexit, while about 16.1 million opposed it.

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    Britain and EU After Brexit (118)

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