After Theresa May tried and failed to bring up Brexit discussion with EU leaders at the Brussels summit, she said, “I think I’d better leave now.”
The Prime Minister was trying to secure the future rights of British citizens living in the EU and vice versa but could persuade the other leaders at the Brussels summit to start the discussion.
EU leaders have called for the exclusion of the UK when discussing their future plans for Brexit negotiations. Furthermore, they have also agreed that they will not discuss any sort of exit deal with the UK until they officially invoke Article 50 of the Lisbon treaty.
The comment came at a time after footage from the summit showed EU leaders receiving each other cordially whilst leaving Theresa May visibly isolated.
The topic of discussion centered on migration and the Syrian Civil War, after which she attempted to discuss expat rights in the EU and the UK.
There have been calls for the UK to guarantee the rights of EU citizens unilaterally. However, Theresa May has been reluctant to do so as she fears it would give her less bargaining power when Brexit negotiations start.
When the Prime Minister left the summit for the UK, the EU leaders discussed Brexit but only for 20 minutes. Other topics on the agenda, which continued for a long time, included the Dutch rejection of the association agreement with Ukraine, and ceasefire violations committed by separatists in Eastern Ukraine. The refugee crisis was also discussed.
The European Council president, Donald Tusk, said that there was consensus among EU leaders that membership in the EU market required accepting free movement of people. Which was probably a reference to one of the main reasons the UK voted to leave the EU which was to avoid the influx of refugees.