General Affairs Council (Art. 50), 22/05/2017

Council of the EU

Main results

Brexit negotiations can start

The Council, meeting in an EU27 format, adopted a decision authorising the beginning of talks with the UK following the notification of its intention to leave the EU. The Commission was nominated as the EU negotiator.

"From today the Commission has a mandate to start talks with the UK. We will focus first on providing clarity for all those affected by the Brexit decision and ensuring a smooth 'separation'. That is our top priority. We are ready, we are united and we approach these negotiations with the best will and with the clear aim of reaching a deal."

Louis Grech, Deputy Prime Minister of Malta and President of the Council

Negotiating directives

Ministers adopted a first set of negotiating directives that sets the EU position for the first phase of the negotiations. The text prioritises issues that have been identified as necessary for an orderly withdrawal of the UK, including among others citizens' rights, the financial settlement and the situation of Ireland.

European Council (art50)

Ministers began preparations for the European Council (Art.50) of June 2017 by looking at an annotated draft agenda.

Working party

A dedicated working party with a permanent chair was created to assist the Council and Coreper (Committee of Permanent Representatives) on all matters related to the UK withdrawal from the EU. This working group will always meet in an EU27 format.

Transparency during negotiations

The documents adopted by the Council allow the beginning of negotiations with the UK which will be conducted respecting the principles for transparency endorsed last week by the Coreper.

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