THERESA May was left hanging by her fellow EU leaders as she was shunned at a summit in Brussels, according to reports. The Prime Minister was caught on camera anxiously looking around for someone to speak to in cringeworthy footage this morning.
The PM travelled to the final EU council summit of the year today, but said it was fine for other leaders to prepare for the divorce talks without her.She said: “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.
“It’s right that the other leaders prepare for those negotiations as we have been preparing.” The PM said that it was in the interests of the EU too to have a smooth exit. “We will be leaving the EU, we want that to be a smooth and orderly process as possible,” she said.
“It’s not just in our interests, it’s in the interests of the rest of Europe as well.” Downing Street insisted Mrs May had not sought to be present at tonight’s dinner, and that the meeting showed the EU was finally facing up to the reality of Brexit. “It shows they are facing up to the reality that the UK is leaving the EU, that we are going to be triggering Article 50 by the end of March,” a spokesperson said.
“That means they are going to need to know how they are going to handle the process where they have got to work out the position of the 27.” Mrs May also said that the EU would be discussing critical issues today such as migration and the tragedy in Syria.
“We must do all we can to ensure a ceasefire is secured,” she added.Also on the agenda for talks is the Ukraine, Nato and economic matters.While she is there, the PM is also holding bilateral meetings with Latvian prime minister Maris Kucinskis and Lithuanian president Dalia Grybauskaite.The PM has already held talks with 23 of the 27 EU leaders about Brexit, meaning she will have held talks with leaders from all countries apart from Austria and Bulgaria. She was also told the UK should prepare for “complexities and difficulties” in the upcoming negotiation process, during talks with senior members of the European Parliament.
The PM met its president Martin Schulz and lead Brexit negotiator Guy Verhofstadt as the EU’s focus turned on preparation for the process of the UK’s separation from the bloc. Mr Schulz said he wanted a “viable solution” during the talks with Mrs May, Downing Street sources said.
Former Belgian prime minister Mr Verhofstadt was also at the 20-minute meeting before the official start of the summit. A Number 10 source said Mr Schulz and Mr Verhofstadt said they wanted a “constructive process, while we recognise there may be complexities and difficulties at times, because that is the nature of any negotiation, overall we should keep our focus on: how do we get to the right outcome at the end?”