It has been six months since the UK voted to leave the European Union, but as 2016 draws to a close we remain full members.Theresa May and Government ministers still come to Brussels to talk, decide and vote on EU positions and policies.
We are still opting in and applying EU rules and regulations. But things are changing. Today the Prime Minister meets her European counterparts. They will talk about Syria, the migrant crisis and EU-NATO co-operation.
They will have lunch, briefings and bilateral meetings. Then Mrs May will pack her bags and leave – she has not been invited to a dinner involving the remaining 27 EU leaders as they discuss Brexit.
It is something the Prime Minister appears to be welcoming, however. “It’s right that the other leaders prepare for those negotiations as we have been preparing,” she said on her arrival.
“We will be leaving the EU – we want that to be a smooth and (as) orderly (a) process as possible.” Whether she or others welcome it, our gradual divorce from Europe has begun.
And as one senior diplomat put it, this is how it will be now, with no decisions made about whether the UK will be invited to meetings in Malta and Rome next year. Britain will be increasingly excluded from discussions about the EU’s future.