The European People’s Party’s (EPP) heads of state and government and opposition leaders met today in Brussels ahead of the European Council. European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker, European Parliament President Antonio Tajani and European Council President Donald Tusk were in attendance. The main topic on the agenda was the negotiations process on the UK’s withdrawal from the EU. Following the Summit, EPP President Joseph Daul made the following statement:

“As the Brexit negotiations have already started, it is of the utmost importance that the EU27 remain united. The EU has maintained a united front since the referendum, and we will remain united throughout the negotiations. In this regard, the centre-right welcomes the European Parliament’s resolution on Brexit, which has helped to maintain unity and which paved the way for the Council’s guidelines. The EPP stands committed to coordinating closely among EPP leaders throughout the entire negotiations process.

The rights and the interests of EU27 citizens are a top priority for the EPP. Our citizens will always come first, and all our efforts will be directed to eliminating any uncertainties for the people during this process. EU citizens working in the UK are entitled to guarantees that will protect their rights and benefits, both throughout this process and post-Brexit. The procedure for EU citizens’ becoming UK residents must also be made simple and affordable. We won’t allow their entitlements and their future to simply disappear from one day to the other.

A possible reinstatement of the border between the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland is another big concern for the centre-right. The EPP will do everything possible to avoid such a scenario, and we welcome Taoiseach Enda Kenny’s initiative on a “united Ireland” in order to find a solution in the spirit of the Good Friday Agreement.

While we aim at maintaining good relations with the UK, the decision of the British people has set an irreversible course. We insist that the Brexit process be conducted in an orderly way: there will be no talks on future relations until these exit talks are concluded. In this regard, the EPP fully trusts and stands behind EU Chief Negotiator Michel Barnier in his efforts to successfully negotiate on behalf of the EU.”