Brexit steals thunder at EU summit

World Today

For an EU summit that wasn’t meant to be all about Brexit, Britain’s impending divorce kept stealing the summit thunder.

CGTN’s Mariam Zaidi reports.

Donald Tusk channeled the spirit of John Lennon in a pre-summit press conference to wish against all odds that history might somehow be re-wound.

“Some of my British friends have even asked me whether Brexit could be reversed. So who knows.. .You may say I’m a dreamer, but I’m not the only one,” Tusk said.

The summit was also an awkward dance for embattled British Prime Minister Theresa May. Her election misadventure cost her major credit in Brussels.

As she finally outlined British plans to secure citizen rights, the offer was met with calls of being insufficient and below expectations.

“I want to reassure all those EU citizens who are in the UK who have made their lives and homes in the UK, that no one will have to leave and that we won’t see families split apart and this is a fair and serious offer,” said May.

“That’s a good start. But of course there are many, many other questions about Brexit — about finances, about the relationship with Ireland — which means we still have a lot to do,” German Chancellor Angela Merkel said.

Some of the steps leaders did take: A pledge to implement the Paris Climate deal, fight online radicalization, and hit Russia with another six months of sanctions for its role in Ukraine.

But this summit was also a moment to celebrate the growing unity of 27 EU members. And who better to deliver that message than the man dubbed by some as “Europe’s new savior.”

“Europe is our best protection against these global challenges,” French President Emmanuel Macron said. “Whether it’s large disruptions or risks or threats. It is also in this spirit that we discussed protection in the economic and social sphere. We are in favor of an open market economy that respects multilateral rules. While we are going through a period in which several great powers can give the impression of questioning these balances, we have reaffirmed this commitment.”

Brexit may have dominated the headlines, but one thing sneaked in somewhat under the radar. Agreement on a pan-European Defense plan, with 500 million euros already greenlighted by the Commission for defense research.

Ansgar Graw of Die Welt discusses the European Council Summit

CGTN’s Susan Roberts discusses the European Council Summit with Ansgar Graw, senior political correspondent with Die Welt.