Photographer: Chris Ratcliffe/Bloomberg

EU Calls for Brexit Talks ‘Swiftly’ After Article 50, Draft Says

  • Statement details process of negotiations with the U.K.
  • Leaders will discuss Brexit without Theresa May on Dec. 15

The European Union will set out for the first time on Dec. 15 how it will conduct its Brexit negotiations with the U.K. as preparations intensify before Prime Minister Theresa May officially fires the starting gun.

EU governments will be asked to “proceed swiftly” in authorizing the opening of the negotiations once May triggers Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty to formally start the withdrawal, according to a draft of the EU statement read out to Bloomberg.

Leaders of the 27 EU countries minus the U.K. will debate their negotiating strategy at a dinner in Brussels on Thursday evening after a summit on non-Brexit issues attended by May. While the communique to be issued after the dinner doesn’t go into any substantive policy details, it does formalize how the EU will conduct itself over the next two years.

The seven-point draft statement makes it clear that national leaders and their closest advisers will be kept fully informed of the details of the talks and they will check that their guidelines are being followed. The Brussels-based European Commission will take on the role of official negotiator.

It also puts in writing that the EU will exclude the U.K. from all meetings where the 27 remaining nations debate the negotiations.

The draft statement, drawn up by the office of EU President Donald Tusk, will be discussed, and possibly altered, by aides to the 27 leaders who meet in Brussels on Monday evening.

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