29 Jun. — With an informal meeting of the leaders of the 27 countries, the first EU summit after the referendum in the UK drew to a close. Its main outcome was a common agreement regarding negotiations and possible compromises between Brussels and London.
Before the summit, a multitude of statements were made by various parties foreseeing that negotiations will not be easy. The central theme promised to become discussions not so much about the results of the referendum as the start of the procedure for the UK’s exiting Europe. “Europe is ready to start the divorce process, even today, without any enthusiasm, as you can imagine,” said European Council President Donald Tusk prior to the start of the meeting. He then immediately clarified the position of European officials: they will not begin any negotiations on the exit and future relations until the moment of the United Kingdom’s official notification.
The final conclusions, however, were focused on other issues – immigration, economic growth, foreign policy. The referendum was mentioned only at the very end of one line: the prime minister informed the rest of the participants about its results.
“Our discussions were calm and measured,” said Donald Tusk summarising the outcome at his next press conference. According to him, the EU is waiting for a formal notification from the United Kingdom about the start of the exit process – and it is hoped that this step will be taken as soon as possible. He also referred to estimations by the European Central Bank that Brexit will be associated with lower economic growth in the UK and have repercussions around the world.
Most of the discussion was transferred to an informal meeting the next day which took place without the participation of the UK. At the end of the discussion, the European Council released a statement marking the EU member countries’ coordinated position regarding negotiations with London.
Expressing regret about the referendum’s outcome, the participants called once again for the UK to initiate the exit procedure as soon as possible. Moreover, whilst expecting partnership with the UK in the future, they noted separately that access to the common market will require London’s consent in all four freedoms (free movement of services, goods, capital and people).