On 28 and 29 June, presidents and prime ministers of the EU member states met in Brussels to hold a European Council session. Following the developments in the UK, the European Council was cut to one day (28 June). Leaders discussed I) migration, II) jobs, growth and investment, and III) external relations. On migration, they reiterated that the migration flow on the Western Balkans route has come to a halt, not least thanks to the cooperation with Turkey. Flow in the Mediterranean continues, though, and the EU will take action. The European Council stated that work will continue along the lines put forward in the Commission Communication on external aspects of migration. On Jobs, growth and investment, the European Council concluded the European Semester, discussed the digital single market, the Juncker investment plan and the crisis in agriculture (dairy). On external relations, the leaders discussed a new EU Global Strategy and EU-NATO relations. At the end, PM Cameron informed his colleagues about the outcome of the UK referendum.
On 29 June, the heads of the 27 EU states (minus UK) met for an informal lunch and debated next steps after the Brexit referendum. In a statement, the leaders regret the British decision, but respect it. The EU stands ready to negotiate a favorable post-Brexit arrangement with the UK, however, there will be no informal talks before a formal British notification. It is clear that the European project is in a crisis and the leaders made it clear that they intend to tackle it. There will be an informal meeting in this format in September in Bratislava, Slovakia (Slovakia holds the Council Presidency since 1 July).
Also the European Parliament held a special plenary session in Brussels to react to the Brexit referendum. The resolution it adopted goes in line with the leaders´ statement – the EP regrets the British decision, but respects it. The language is a bit harsher on the next steps, since the EP calls for immediate activation of the Art. 50 exit clause.
For more on this, click here.
According to Euroskop, the European Free Trade Association, which the UK helped create in the 1960s as an alternative to the then-European Economic Community (predecessor of EU), stated that it is ready to take Britain back. EFTA consists of Norway, Iceland, Liechtenstein, and Switzerland today. They have very close ties to the EU through the European Economic Area (except Switzerland, which has a complicated series of bilateral treaties with the EU).
26th October 2020
2nd October 2020
18th January 2021