British Prime Minister Theresa May answers a question from the media during the final news briefing at the EU Summit in Brussels on Friday.(Photo: Alastair Grant, AP)
LONDON — British Prime Minister Theresa May said Friday that her country will be “outward-looking” and cooperate with the rest of Europe at a meeting of European Union leaders that also included topics of migration, the conflict in Syria and Russian "interference."
"I recognize the scale of the challenge ahead, I am sure there will be difficult moments, it will require some give and take," May told reporters on the second day of a two-day meeting of EU leaders in Brussels.
The United Kingdom voted to leave the EU during a historic referendum in June — called Brexit. May said Thursday that the U.K. expected to play a full role in EU's decision-making process until it leaves the alliance.
May made a short presentation on Brexit to the leaders in the early hours of Friday. There was no discussion around it, according to media reports.
May confirmed to the EU leaders that the country will invoke Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty — the process that starts Brexit, before the end of March next year. EU Council President Donald Tusk said there will be no negotiations until Article 50 is triggered.
May was meeting with European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker on Friday — her 100th day in office. The EU summit is her first since becoming prime minister.
Tusk said the EU leaders discussed "Russian activities" including airspace violations, cyber attacks, developments in the investigation into the downing of Malaysia Airlines Flight MH17 over Ukraine in July 2014 and Russia’s “interference into the political processes in the EU."
“Given these examples, it is clear that Russia's strategy is to weaken the EU,” he said, adding that increasing tensions with Russia was not the EU’s aim and that it was always ready to engage in dialogue.
Tusk said the leaders also discussed how to further cooperate with Senegal, Mali, Niger, Nigeria and Ethiopia to stem illegal migration to Europe, and condemned the bombings of civilians in Aleppo by the Syrian government with support from Russia. Trade policy was also on the agenda.