Although Britain has opted out of the EU, Theresa May has stated it will still continue to play a full part in discussions on matters related to the European Union. Her warning that it would take nearly a decade to create a new trade deal, could be read as a sign that access to EU’s single market bloc could be a key chip during negotiations.
Taking a gracious tone, Britain’s Prime Minister Theresa May said, it was right for EU leaders to discuss Brexit without her over dinner, thus setting a conciliatory tone before she attempts to manoeuvres Britain out of the bloc.
At the start of a summit leaders across the European Union have come together to dine. This will be the first time it’s being done without Britain’s participation.
Britain is still a member of the bloc.
The British Prime Minister said Britain will continue to play a full part in discussions on matters related to the European Union.
The summit is not just about Britain and Brexit. It has other important matters on its agenda, including ramping up defences against Russia, curbing migration from Africa and Donald Trump.
“I welcome the fact that the other leaders will be meeting to discuss Brexit tonight as we are going to invoke Article 50, trigger the negotiations by the end of March next year,” said May to reporters.
She went on to add, “It’s right that the other leaders prepare for those negotiations as we have been preparing. We will be leaving the EU. We want that to be as smooth and as orderly a process as possible. It’s not just in our interests, it’s in the interests of the rest of Europe as well.”
In efforts designed to fixate on Brexit and Britain, an aide to May said, the dinner was a sign that EU leaders are “facing up to the reality that the UK is leaving”.
Negotiators from both sides, the EU and Britain, have given little away as to what could be their negotiation stance.
However, in signs that could be portrayed as Britain’s need for access to EU’s single market bloc, Britain has warned that agreeing on a new trade deal with it could take 10 years or more.
Leaders across the European Union are sticking together. They have all agreed that since Britain chose to leave the bloc, it will have to forego all benefits that derive of its membership, including access to trade and EU migrants.
“They stand ready to start negotiations with the UK as soon as the UK has notified,” read a draft of the statement from the leaders of the EU.