WARSAW - Britain should not be forced out of the European Union as quickly as possible, the Polish foreign minister said, adding that the EU should have done more to keep the British in the bloc, after more than four decades of membership.
Witold Waszczykowski's comment came after EU leaders said on Friday they expect Britain to leave soon as possible, "however painful that may be".
"We need a longer reflection," Waszczykowski told Polish state television TVP Info before leaving for Prague to meet his counterparts from central Europe and Germany. "This cannot be hasty action, this cannot consist of forcing Britain out and as fast as possible."
The Polish minister also said EU officials were partly responsible for Britain's vote to quit the EU.
"The blame lies on both sides," he said. "For sure, the British people ... have their arguments to exit the EU. But also on the side of the EU, in Brussels, one has to ask why it was not possible to keep such an important state in the EU."
Another Polish minister, Henryk Kowalczyk, who is responsible for new legislation in the government, said on Monday the decisions of EU officials have led to Brexit.
"It was among other things the lack of will to listen to citizens that has led to Britain's situation. If Britain had more freedom to govern itself, if it was not (EU) pressure in various areas, most likely there would not be a Brexit," Kowalczyk told Telewizja Republika broadcaster.
Poland said on Friday the EU needed a new treaty to increase the role of sovereign nations to preserve its unity following the British referendum.
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