EU leaders except Britain are to discuss on Friday Britain’s exit from the European Union and deeper integration of the euro zone after a deal on migration reached in the small hours. Below are the leaders’ comments before the start of the talks in Brussels on Friday.
FRENCH PRESIDENT EMMANUEL MACRON
“Overall, we are protecting better, we are cooperating more and we are reaffirming our principles… All the rushed solutions of nationalism or of betraying our principles, which consisted of pushing back people in third countries, have been explicitly distanced.”
“It is for me a great satisfaction and a victory. Europe decided, even if it takes her time. Europe wants to protect its citizens but also wants to live up to its laws and its history and the protection of the most vulnerable.”
“We decided to have a holistic approach speaking about third countries, external borders and internal challenges and I think that is the second very positive outcome.”
EUROGROUP PRESIDENT MARIO CENTENO
“Our job is not done not even today and we looking forward to receive a new mandate to continue working on very important topics.
We need to make sure our job is not only done at the euro level, we need to continue working at home on the legacy of the crisis. This means reducing NPLs, reducing debt, unemployment, and promoting policies that increase our GDP, competitiveness so that each country and the euro area as a whole can progress.
But also at the euro area level we need to continue looking at the toolkit for the ESM to bring new instruments to the ESM, to fight crisis in Europe, we also need to discuss the roadmap to the political discussions on EDIS and certainly and we will continue to discuss new elements added to our agenda more recently, namely those related to the euro area budget.
This is very important day fort euro area and I hope we can deliver today.”
AUSTRIAN CHANCELLOR SEBASTIAN KURZ
“Only when we make sure that people rescued at sea will not be brought into the European Union will we destroy the business model of smugglers and will we be able to reduce the numbers of people coming to Europe. It is important to put these ideas into practice quickly. They are only worth as much as their implementation.”
“Regarding Brexit, it is our aim to have the best possible cooperation between Britain and the European Union in the future, both in terms of the economy and in terms of politics. That is in our interest.
“For the euro zone, we are in favour of more cooperation between banks but definitely against a further sharing of debt on a European level.”
LITHUANIAN PRESIDENT DALIA GRYBAUSKAITE ON BREXIT
“It is clear in the papers that are prepared there is a very clear message that a hard landing is possible. It is on the table and in that case it is very important to keep Britain very close as our security ally.
“I very much hope, and I trust. It is in nobody’s interest to have this hard deal, neither for Britain nor for us and especially seeing this geopolitical and transatlantic tension.”
“We are supporting Britain and supporting Europe. We don’t want one or another side to win. We would like both sides to win.”
“Expectations were different but the agreement was more or less acceptable to all and that is a success, that countries didn’t fall apart… We are happy that it was not, as last time, some kind of enforcement.”
EU CHIEF BREXIT NEGOTIATOR MICHEL BARNIER
“On Brexit, we have made progress but huge and serious divergence remain in particular on Ireland and Northern Ireland.”
After Brexit, we want an ambitious EU-UK partnership on trade as well as on security, but we have to base this partnership on our values and principles – respecting also the UK red lines …
(For the EU it is the integrity of the single market, autonomy of decision-making, the four freedoms, and safeguarding the rights of EU citizens in Britain) “and these points are key for our future cooperation on security.”
“Now we are waiting for the UK White Paper and I hope it will contain workable and realistic proposals, but let me mention once again that time is very short.”
“We want a deal and working for a deal the time is short.”