“So, any other business?” Europe is refusing to talk about its biggest crisis

Little Britain.
Little Britain.
Image: Reuters/Neil Hall
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Britain’s shock decision to leave the EU sparked a political earthquake both at home and across Europe. European leaders needed to show that the union will remain strong without Britain.

So with British prime minister Theresa May being invited to her first EU summit since the Brexit vote in June, what priority have they given to discussing Brexit and the impact it’ll have on the rest of the EU? Not much, apparently.

At today’s European Council meeting in Brussels, which brings together all 28 EU leaders, Brexit is simply down in the meeting order as “any other business,” a press officer confirmed to Quartz. May has only been allowed to give a “short update on Brexit” during coffee after a working dinner. Other European leaders will not be allowed to respond to May’s remarks.

This isn’t particularly surprising. European council leader Donald Tusk has been keen to avoid a discussion on Brexit. Though British diplomats have been calling for preparatory talks, EU leaders have remained united that no negotiations will occur until Article 50 of the EU’s treaty, which begins the official process to leave the EU, is triggered. Earlier this month, May announced that the government would trigger Article 50 by the end of March 2017.

So what will EU leaders talk about? The summit will instead focus on migration, with a emphasis on border protection, trade issues, and Russia.