With central Bratislava in virtual lockdown September 16 leaders from 27 European Union states gathered to discuss the future of the EU in the wake of the Brexit vote. UK Prime Minister Theresa May was a notable absence.
Slovak State Secretary for EU Affairs Ivan Korčok promised a “frank debate” in an interview on the eve of the gathering, and said the meeting was designed to “kick off a deeper reflection process” on the future of the EU. As leaders arrived in town on the evening of September 15, many Bratislava residents had already left town for the weekend, taking advantage of the Our Lady of Sorrows holiday on Thursday to have a four day weekend.
But anticipation across the continent was high as leaders must take on what increasingly seems an existential crisis after the UK public opted to vote out of the EU in a June 23 referendum. Divisions on migration, border security, the Schengen zone and whether a so-called multi-speed Europe, whereby core EU members may pursue further integration with other countries opting for less, have emerged. European Council President Donald Tusk urged leaders to “not let this crisis go to waste” and to use the tensions to reform things for the better.
16. Sep 2016 at 14:36 | Benjamin Cunningham