Talking Brexit after saying goodbye to Barack

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By Catherine Hardy  with AP, Reuters
Talking Brexit after saying goodbye to Barack

EU leaders have agreed they need to keep working together as part of multilateral bodies like NATO.

The leaders of Germany, Britain, France, Italy and Spain met at a mini-summit in Berlin to say goodbye to outgoing US President Barack Obama.

Security and economy

The post-Brexit challenges, weak economic growth, the rise of the far-right and Donald Trump’s shock US election victory were top of the agenda.

Gathered around a circular table in the Chancellery, the transatlantic partners discussed the range of challenges facing the transatlantic partnership as Trump takes office in January.

The question: what will Trump’s election mean for:

  • Peace efforts in Syria and Ukraine
  • The NATO alliance
  • Trade agreements
  • Efforts to fight climate change

Have they agreed on anything?


The leaders agreed that they needed to keep working together as part of multilateral bodies like NATO.

The White House says they will press ahead with the transatlantic agenda.

“The leaders agreed on the necessity of working collectively to move the transatlantic agenda forward, particularly on bringing stabilisation to the Middle East and North Africa, as well as securing diplomatic resolution to the conflicts in Syria and eastern Ukraine,” the White House said in a statement.

Donald Trump said during his campaign that if Russia attacked a NATO member, he would consider whether the targeted country had met its defence commitments before providing military aid.

“The leaders also confirmed the importance of continued cooperation through multilateral institutions, including NATO,” the White House added.

Merkel and Rajoy

The German Chancellor and Spanish Prime Minister were the first two to speak at a press conference after the mini-summit.

Both agreed that the priority lay in maintaining the transatlantic relationship with the US.

Other topics touched on included Brexit, the digital market and the stabilisation of conflict-torn countries like Syria and Libya.

Acknowledging that Spain has been an EU member for 30 years, Angela Merkel said the countries had similar aims and enjoyed warm relations.

Mariano Rajoy said he hoped Spanish expertise could help in managing Europe’s ongoing migration crisis.

Merkel and May

Speaking with UK Prime Minister Theresa May shortly afterwards, Angela Merkel said there had been no in-depth talk of Brexit.

“We both put emphasis on creating migration partnerships with African countries, we have to put all our efforts into getting a stable government in Libya as fast as possible. So, there was a high amount of agreement on our ambitions, our conceptions, and a strong commitment of both our countries to engage into making economicl development and creation of jobs a priority for both our countries, along with the control of migration.”

Speaking straight afterwards, UK Prime Minister Theresa May said there had been no in-depth talk of Brexit.

“Our work is on track. I want to see this as a smooth process, as an orderly process, working towards a solution that is in the interests of both the United Kingdom, but also in the interests of our European partners too,” she said.