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David Cameron to face ‘the 27’ over Brexit vote

UK referendum to be discussed over dinner with David Cameron but ‘the 27’ will have more to say about the implications on Wednesday

Miriam Dalli
28 June 2016, 7:40am
A family photo: The United Kingdom has voted to end its relationship with the European Union
A family photo: The United Kingdom has voted to end its relationship with the European Union
After a relationship of over 40 years, the United Kingdom this evening will face the European Union to discuss the implications of the Brexit vote.

Uncertainty reigns over what could be achieved during tonight’s European Council meeting: David Cameron won’t trigger Article 50 – which will set Brexit in motion – “at this stage” and the founding members won’t engage in any talks before the ‘divorce process’ is activated.

All member states, less the UK, will then meet again tomorrow morning to continue the discussion.

Germany, France and Italy have insisted that there cannot be any further steps until Article 50 is invoked: “That means that, and we agree on this point, there will be neither informal nor formal talks on a British exit until the European Council has received the [UK's] request for an exit from the European Union.” 

Both France’s Francois Hollande and Italy’s Matteo Renzi insisted that the UK’s exit must be processed as quickly as possible.

Malta’s Prime Minister Joseph Muscat will however be urging the EU to give the UK some breathing space and stop insisting that exit negotiations are to start immediately. Malta, a former British colony, will also find itself leading the exit negotiations during its Presidency of the EU next year.

The stark disappointment of the UK’s decision has hit home in Brussels and the leaders of the EU institutions have made sure to deliver that message: in his 300-word invitation letter to heads of state or government, European Council President Donald Tusk repeated ‘27’ three times.

“I have no doubt that due to the negative outcome of the UK referendum we will mostly need to devote our European Council to a discussion on its political consequences. It is my intention to ensure that we have sufficient space to debate both with Prime Minister Cameron, and then separately with the 27 Heads of State or Government,” Tusk said.

“On Wednesday the 27 Heads of State or Government will meet informally to discuss the political and practical implications of 'Brexit'. First of all, we will discuss the so called 'divorce process' as described in Art. 50 of the Treaty. And secondly, we will start a discussion on the future of the European Union with 27 Member States.”

There are other planned issues on the agenda: tackling the migratory crisis, pushing ahead with the Single Market agenda to boost growth and jobs, and enhancing security.

Today’s session will start off business as usual with a traditional exchange of views with the President of the European Parliament Martin Schulz and brief presentations by the NATO Secretary General on EU/NATO cooperation, and by the EIB President on his initiative for the Southern Neighbourhood and the Western Balkans. Council conclusions will be adopted.

The leaders will then move to dinner, where Cameron will explain the situation in the UK after the referendum, followed by a first exchange of views. Then tomorrow, the 27 will meet again informally to discuss the political and practical implications of the UK vote and start a discussion on the future of the European Union with 27 member states.

An extraordinary plenary session of the European Parliament has been convened where MEPs will vote a resolution analysing the outcome and ways forward.

Cameron, who is stepping down as UK Prime Minister, told parliament his government would begin taking steps to leave the union. Attempts to reassure financial markets that Britain “is ready to confront what the future holds for us from a position of strength” failed as Standard & Poor’s Global Ratings stripped

Miriam Dalli joined in 2010 and was assistant editor fr...