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25th Feb 2024

Tusk: Leaders to meet without UK to discuss Brexit 'details'

  • Tusk: 'historic moment' but 'not a moment for hysterical reactions' (Photo: The European Union)

The leaders of the 27 EU countries that the United Kingdom will leave behind, will have an informal meeting during next week's summit, EU Council president Donald Tusk told journalists on Friday (24 June).



He said he had proposed to government leaders that they have a discussion about the “details” for a British exit, or Brexit, without the UK in the room, when they meet next Tuesday and Wednesday in Brussels.



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“All the procedures for the withdrawal of the UK from the EU are clear and set out in the treaties,” Tusk said.



"In order to discuss the details of the proceedings, I have offered the leaders an informal meeting of the 27 in the margins of the European Council summit. And I will also propose we start a wider reflection on the future of our union,” noted Tusk.



The former prime minister of Poland was the first high EU official  to give a reaction on Friday to the outcome of the UK referendum, which ended in a victory for Brexit supporters. 

“There is no hiding the fact that we wanted a different outcome from yesterday's referendum,” said Tusk.



“I am fully aware of how serious, or even dramatic, this moment is, politically. There is no way of predicting all the political consequences of this event, especially for the UK,” he added.



The Council president, who chairs summit meetings like next week's, called it a “historic moment”, but also noted that it was “not a moment for hysterical reactions”.

Tusk said the EU was prepared for the Brexit scenario.



He said the 27 leaders of the remaining countries “are determined to keep our unity as 27”, and that the EU “is the framework for our common future”.

Tusk also stressed that EU law – “rights as well as obligations” – will continue to apply to and within the UK.

“I would also like to reassure you there will be no legal vacuum until the UK formally leaves the European Union”.



“It's true that the past few years have been the most difficult ones in the history of our Union, but I always remember what my father used to tell me: what doesn't kill you makes you  stronger,” he said, with a small smile.

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