Berlin: The leaders of Germany, France and Italy Monday vowed "a new impulse" for the EU as it reels from Brexit and told London they would make no deals before it formally informs Brussels it will leave the bloc.
The warning by the EU`s three most populous continental nations signals to Britain that it must first take the plunge of invoking Article 50 to leave the union before being able to negotiate its future trade and other ties with the bloc.
Chancellor Angela Merkel -- hosting French President Francois Hollande and Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi in Berlin -- said that "we agreed on this, that there will be no informal or formal talks on the exit of Britain until an application has been filed to leave the European Union".
British finance minister George Osborne had said earlier that his country should only activate Article 50 when it has a "clear view" of how its future relations with the bloc would look.
Merkel also vowed that the remaining 27 members would push on with the European project, saying that "we will suggest to our (EU) colleagues that we should put in place a new impulse ... in the coming months".
Speaking on the eve of a two-day Brussels summit, she called for unity and urged a new collective push for cooperation in areas that included "defence, growth or jobs and competitiveness".
Merkel stressed that "there must be no period of uncertainty" that is prolonged, and that the EU must counter "centrifugal forces" in other countries pushing to leave the union.
Hollande, somewhat more bluntly, urged Britain to "not waste time" in triggering the process to leave the EU, arguing that it was to all parties` benefit to move forward quickly.
"Being responsible means not wasting time -- not wasting time in dealing with the question of Britain`s departure, not wasting time too in putting in place the new stimulus that we need to give to the European Union, that is to say, the 27 members."
"Because nothing is worse than uncertainty," he added. "Uncertainty generates often irrational behaviour. Uncertainty also leads financial markets to act irrationally."