The president of the European Parliament said Europe needs to be pragmatic in dealing with Britain following the country’s decision to leave the bloc, but urged cooperation in future dealings.
“The U.K. will leave the European Union not Europe. This is important to pave the way also for good relations after the separation,” Antonio Tajani, the EU Parliament’s President said Thursday at a gathering of European leaders in Brussels.
EU leaders opened a two-day summit Thursday in Brussels to address everything from Britain’s planned exit, along with terrorism, migration and other issues facing Europe.
May looks to future
British Prime Minister Theresa May told reporters prior to the summit she was looking forward to constructive negotiations. She said the talks Thursday would focus on the way British citizens living in the EU and EU citizens living in Britain will be affected by Britain’s exit.
“Today I’m going to be setting out some of the U.K.’s plans particularly on how we propose to protect the rights of EU citizens and U.K. citizens as we leave the European Union,” May said.
European Union chief Donald Tusk said the remaining 27 EU nations are ready to choose new locations for the Europe-wide agencies currently headquartered in Britain.
France to work with Germany
French President Emmanuel Macron vowed to work together with Germany to relaunch the European project as member-states argued over how to manage refugees after Britain leaves the union.
“Europe is not, to my mind, just an idea. It’s a project, an ambition,” he said, noting that France is working “hand-in-hand” with Germany to implement the refugee resettlement plan.
Tajani, in his opening remarks, called it “vital” that Europe devise a solution to the current migration crisis affecting Europe. He said Europe needs to do more to stem the tide of migrants traveling to Europe from sub-Saharan Africa through Libya.
“So we’ve got to strengthen the stability of Libya and help this country as the prime minister asked yesterday, but also act in sub-Saharan Africa,” he said.