'We have no reason to pretend this is a happy day'
Donald Tusk made a statement on Britain’s triggering of Article 50 today, immediately after he received Theresa May’s letter of notification.
In a sombre statement, Tusk empahsised that he had ‘no reason to pretend this is a happy day’, before providing a brief overview of the next steps of the European Council.
In Britain, it’s become the norm to question the motives and attitudes of EU leaders. But Tusk’s statement reflects the reality that, above all else, Europeans are saddened by the UK’s departure from the union.
‘What can I add to this?’ he concluded. ‘We already miss you’.
— BBC Breaking News (@BBCBreaking) March 29, 2017
The European Council also issued a formal statement, which read:
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“Today, the European Council received a letter from the British Prime Minister, Theresa May, notifying the United Kingdom’s intention to leave the European Union. This notification follows the referendum of 23 June 2016 and starts the withdrawal process under Article 50 of the Treaty. We regret that the United Kingdom will leave the European Union, but we are ready for the process that we now will have to follow.
For the European Union, the first step will now be the adoption of guidelines for the negotiations by the European Council. These guidelines will set out the overall positions and principles in light of which the Union, represented by the European Commission, will negotiate with the United Kingdom.
In these negotiations the Union will act as one and preserve its interests. Our first priority will be to minimise the uncertainty caused by the decision of the United Kingdom for our citizens, businesses and Member States. Therefore, we will start by focusing on all key arrangements for an orderly withdrawal.
We will approach these talks constructively and strive to find an agreement. In the future, we hope to have the United Kingdom as a close partner.”