A summit of EU member states will take place on 29 April to discuss Brexit, a month after the Prime Minister triggers Article 50 to begin the two year withdrawal process. The meeting will establish the guidelines for the EU’s negotiating team headed by Chief Negotiator, Michel Barnier. Donald Tusk, European Council President, said the priority would be to give “clarity” to EU residents, businesses and Member States about the upcoming negotiations. The UK will not attend this meeting, scheduled to be held just a few days after the first round of voting in the French Presidential election. While the Prime Minister hopes that talks will get under way as soon as possible, it is understood that they will not begin in earnest until after April’s meeting and the final outcome of the French election is known on 7 May. Last night, the two leading candidates in the French election, Le Front National’s Marine le Pen and independent centrist Emmanuel Macron, clashed over Britain’s withdrawal from the EU: Mr. Macron said that the “Brexiteers” of last year’s referendum had left Theresa May to clear up the mess and stated that Ms. Le Pen’s vision of an independent France was one that would ruin the French economy. Marine Le Pen dismissed this as “project fear” and pointed to the encouraging results in the British economy which have so far defied many analysts’ projections.
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