EU to hold special Brexit summit on 29 April, Tusk says

The European Union will hold a summit of leaders on 29 April to conclude its response to the UK’s notification of exit

21 March 2017, 1:41pm
The summit is a necessary step before the negotiations between Britain and the bloc can officially begin
The summit is a necessary step before the negotiations between Britain and the bloc can officially begin
The EU's remaining 27 member states will hold a special summit on 29 April to decide the political objectives for Brexit talks, European Council President Donald Tusk said Tuesday.

The summit, which is a necessary step before the negotiations between Britain and the bloc can officially begin, will be used as a forum for leaders to adopt their formal guidelines for negotiations, which will be headed by the European Commission.

"In view of what was announced in London yesterday, I'd like to inform you that I will call a European Council on Saturday, 29 April, to adopt the guidelines for the Brexit talks," Tusk told reporters in Brussels.

"You know I personally wish the UK hadn't chosen to leave the EU, but the majority of British voters decided otherwise. Therefore we must do everything we can to make the process of divorce the least painful for the EU."

Tusk's announcement came a day after London said Prime Minister Theresa May would trigger the two-year process for Britain's departure on 29 March.

The unprecedented talks are due to run for two years, though many diplomats and officials admit it would probably take longer.

The European Council President has said he will issue the draft guidelines for the 27 leaders within 48 hours of May triggering Article 50 of the Lisbon treaty next week.

"Our main priority for the negotiations must be to create as much certainty and clarity as possible for all citizens, companies and member states that will be negatively affected by Brexit, as well as our important partners and friends around the world," Tusk added.