16, September 2016
German Chancellor Angela Merkel has acknowledged that the European Union (EU) is in a “critical situation,” as it is struggling to find a way forward without the United Kingdom. Upon her arrival for a summit in the Slovakian capital of Bratislavato on Friday, Merkel said the EU has been facing so many problems that cannot be resolved at one meeting.
“The point is not to simply expect a solution to Europe’s problems from one summit — we are in a critical situation — but rather it is about showing through actions that we can be better,” she told reporters. The leaders of the union, minus those of Britain, have gathered in Bratislavato to discuss the EU’s post-Brexit future.
“I hope that today we can show that we can work together in the EU and that we can solve problems,” Merkel said. “Protecting Europe’s outside borders will also be discussed, but this will all be decided in the coming months, we can then also take concrete steps,” she added.
Merkel further said that European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker “showed in his speech that the European Commission has similar plans.” Juncker earlier warned that the union faces an “existential crisis.”
On the eve of the summit, European Council President Donald Tusk also warned that the remaining 27-member states should not “let this crisis go to waste.” “After the vote in the UK the only thing that makes sense is to have a sober and brutally honest assessment of the situation,” Tusk said in Bratislava.
The leaders, however, are not expected to discuss Britain’s departure from the bloc in any detail in Bratislavato. Tusk formerly called on British Premier Theresa May to trigger Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty– the step required to officially begin the withdrawal.May, however, said her government will not begin the negotiation this year. Starting the negotiations would begin a two-year countdown for the UK to separate itself from Brussels.