28 June 2016, Brussels – Doorstep remarks by President Donald Tusk before the European Council meeting
First, I want to say that while respecting the will of the UK voters, we also have to respect our treaties; and, according to them, it is the British government who initiates the process of exit from the EU. And this is the only legal way we have. Everyone should be aware of this fact, which means that we also have to be patient if there is such a need.
Europe is ready to start the divorce process, even today, without any enthusiasm, as you can imagine. This is not the scenario we were dreaming about. We have precise procedures, we have a ready work plan. But I would like to underline very very clearly: without the notification from the UK, we will not start any negotiations on divorce process or on our future relations.
Maybe I will be here too personal, but the day after Brexit I felt as if someone very close to me left our home and in the same second I felt also how dear and precious this home was to me.
Brexit is not only about procedures, politics and interests, it is also about our emotions and feelings and I am absolutely sure that I am not alone with this kind of feelings but what has happened, happened and we have to move on also with our regular agenda.
This means that today we also discuss about migration crisis of course, how to stem irregular influx of migrants, about our cooperation with NATO, Jens Stoltenberg will be our guest tonight; Federica Mogherini will present her Global Strategy; Angela Merkel and François Hollande will inform us about their assessment of Minsk agreement implementation.
Last but not least, tomorrow, only among 27 member states, we will continue our discussions. It will be the informal part of our meeting and one of the topics will also be the new process of deeper reflection, also for a new impulse for Europe and for a new future for Europe. I will propose that we can meet as leaders, I mean an informal leaders meeting, in September. Because we need a few weeks to prepare this process. And maybe the best place will be Bratislava, because we will then be under the Slovak presidency. Thank you.
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