Hollande says Britain’s EU exit process shouldn’t ‘drag on’

LONDON (AP) — French President Francois Hollande says Britain’s negotiations to leave the European Union shouldn’t “drag on.”

Hollande is due to meet Thursday with British Prime Minister Theresa May, who took office last week.

Speaking in Dublin after talks with Irish Prime Minister Enda Kenny, Hollande said “the sooner the negotiations are open the better, and the shorter the better.”

And he warned that Britain won’t get access to the EU single market unless it allows free movement of EU workers.

May met German Chancellor Angela Merkel on Wednesday, and said Britain won’t start exit talks until “our objectives are clear” — and that won’t be before early 2017.

Merkel struck a conciliatory tone, saying “nobody wants a long-term stalemate,” but it’s reasonable to give Britain time to prepare carefully.