EU split: Just 12 leaders invited to swanky pre-summit dinner, and here's who was snubbed

Posted on Feb 23 2018 - 7:56pm by admin

Charles Michel invited 12 leaders from EU member states to the Château de Val-Duchess ahead of today’s EU summit, which Britain will not attend.

They will have discussed important topics including migration, trade, the eurozone and the EU’s budget without Britain.

Others on the guest list were Ireland’s Leo Varadkar, Spanish PM Mariano Rajoy, Bulgaria’s Boyko Borisov, Italy’s Paolo Gentiloni, Finland’s Juha Sipilä, Luxembourg PM Xavier Bettel, Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki, Portugal’s António Costa and Slovakia’s Robert Fico.

Dutch PM Mark Rutte initially turned the invite down, but attended after reworking his schedule 

Surprisingly the gueslist of mostly western members of the bloc did not include European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker and European Parliament chief Donald Tusk.

And Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz, Croatia’s Andrej Plenković, President of Cyprus Nicos Anastasiades, Czech Republic PM Andrej Babiš, Denmark’s Lars Løkke Rasmussen, Estonia’s Jüri Ratas, Greek PM Alexis Tsipras, Hungary’s Viktor Orban, Latvia’s Māris Kučinskis, Lithuania’s Saulius Skvernelis, Malta PM Joseph Muscat , Romania’s Viorica Dăncilă Slovenia’s Miro Cerar and Sweden’s Stefan Löfven were also missing from the swanky event.

EU Council President said it was not unusual for “sub-groups” to meet ahead of important summits.

A diplomat told politics news site, Policito.co.uk Mr Michel hosted the dinner because “he really feels we should be more dynamic”.

The diplomat added: “It’s where they can also start discussing the names for the future institutional configuration.”

A Belgian official said: “It’s very nice to have these informal settings because they can really speak freely and discuss whatever is on their minds.”

EU leaders will meet in Brussels this morning without Theresa May to discuss the bloc’s next long-term budget .

On the agenda will be the £11billion shortfall the EU faces due to Brexit, which forms part of an overall £18billion budget blackhole caused by other crises including migration.

Cracks are starting to emerge among the 27 members, who have put on a united front in Brexit talks, but are squabbling over what they are willing to pay to plug the gap.

The Netherlands became the latest EU member to refuse to pay more to plug the budget blackhole left by Brexit.

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