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'EU 27' seek unity at Bratislava summit in wake of Brexit

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'EU 27' seek unity at Bratislava summit in wake of Brexit

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European Union leaders will gather in Bratislava later in a bid to reinvigorate the bloc. Battered by Britain’s Brexit vote and divided by a row over migration, European Council president Donald Tusk has urged leaders to take a ‘brutally honest’ look at the EU’s problems. On his arrival in the Slovak capital, he told reporters that ‘‘we must not let this crisis go to waste’‘.

“I am absolutely sure that we have to assure here in Bratislava, and also after our meeting, our citizens that we have learned the lesson from Brexit and that we are able to bring back stability and a sense of security and effective protection,” Tusk said.

Inspecting a boat where part of the talks will take place, the summit’s host, Slovak Prime Minister Robert Fico, is one of a group leaders from countries in central and eastern Europe, the so-called Visegrad group, demanding tougher controls on refugees.

Speaking to reporters, he warned about the dangers of disunity and the threat of eurosceptism.

‘‘The most important task of this summit is to stop the wave of pessimism and eliminate the threat of other referendums or attempts to weaken EU,” Fico said.

While officials are said to be playing down expectations of any major breakthroughs at the special one-day summit, European military cooperation is one area leaders may try to find common ground following Britain’s departure.

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