EU summit focuses on common goals but splits remain

September 19, 2016

European leaders have met without the UK for the first time in more than 40 years to prepare a future strategy based on unifying the remaining members. During the meeting in Bratislava, it was revealed that the UK is likely to trigger Article 50 in January or February 2017, starting the two-year countdown to its formal departure from the EU. The main focus of the meeting was on finding common ground between the remaining 27 members, who presented the Bratislava Declaration and roadmap, the lists future objectives and tentative timelines. The declaration said: “The EU is not perfect but it is the best instrument we have for addressing the new challenges we are facing.” The declaration includes proposals for tackling the issues that are proving most divisive in Europe, such as immigration, terrorism and defence, by solving them together rather than retreating behind national borders. However, the roadmap will not be fully developed until 2017 and there were clear differences as EU leaders departed. Hungary is challenging EU immigration policy in October with a referendum and Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi criticised the lack of progress at the summit.

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