TALLINN, Estonia — The Latest on the European Union leaders’ summit in Estonia (all times local):
French President Emmanuel Macron says all the talk about Britain’s “divorce” from the European Union has its limits as a metaphor for the political breakup.
Macron noted at an EU summit that ended Friday: “If you divorce, you divorce from one person at a time. You don’t divorce 27 people. In any case, it is not allowed in France.”
The French leader was asked why the EU is insisting that Britain settle several separation issues before discussing a future relationship since the two usually go hand-in-hand in civil divorces.
Macron says the difficulty is that the bond to be untied connects 28, not two.
He said: “This is where the crux of the matter is. If we accept to talk about our life after divorce, we open 27 debates which are profound and could weaken the EU.”
Some 150 protesters from Estonia’s nationalist-conservative EKRE party have demonstrated outside a summit of EU leaders in Tallinn against the EU’s immigration policies and its refugee quota system.
They held banners in German and English urging the end to “multikulti”, short for multi-cultural Europe, a reference often used in Estonia to describe Germany’s society.
“We do not accept (EU refugee) quotas,” EKRE chairman Martin Helme told The Associated Press. “Germany, Merkel and Macron and Juncker cannot tell us who should be allowed to Estonia and who not.”
“I don’t think there should any immigration from the Islamic countries” to Europe, he said.
So far only some 80-100 refugees have been placed into Estonia under the EU’s refugee quota.
Beyond the noise, sometimes drowning out the statements from arriving leaders, no significant incidents were reported.
Irish Prime Minister Leo Varadkar says that “there’s a better vibe and a better mood coming out of the negotiations” between the European Union and Britain on their divorce proceedings.
But he joined others in questioning whether sufficient progress had already been made to move to the next stage of talks to include a future relationship, which the U.K. desperately wants.
Varadkar said that “it’s still very evident that there’s more work to be done. We’re not yet at the stage where we can say that sufficient progress has been made to allow us to talk about the new relationship and trade.”
He added that “I don’t know whether we will be able to make that call until later in the month.”
British Prime Minister Theresa May says she is pleased with the different atmosphere and progress made this week at the divorce negotiations between the European Union and Britain.
May said at the start of an EU summit she was “pleased that the negotiations have been making progress and I look forward to developing that deep and special partnership with the EU.”
Despite the more upbeat mood, the EU leaders said they were unlikely to expand the negotiations to include a future trade relationship on top of the disentanglement issues later this month.
Britain wants to move as fast as possible for talks to include a future relationship.
EU Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker says it will take “a miracle” for there to be sufficient progress on the EU divorce negotiations with Britain for talks later this month to include the future relationship between Britain and the bloc.
The EU has maintained there needs to be “sufficient progress” on citizens’ rights, Ireland and the financial settlement before the talks can include a future trade deal.
One day after another round of negotiations ended with some progress in Brussels, Juncker said it was not enough by far for the EU leaders to back moving to the next stage when they meet again in three weeks’ time.
“By the end of October we will not have sufficient progress,” Juncker said. “At the end of this week I am saying that that there will be no sufficient progress from now until October unless miracles would happen.”
British Prime Minister Theresa May is guaranteeing her country’s security commitment to the other 27 European Union leaders even though the nation is leaving the bloc.
May visited troops in Estonia close to the Russian border early Friday and said that “the United Kingdom is unconditionally committed to maintaining Europe’s security.”
She added that “we will continue to offer aid and assistance to EU member states that are the victims of armed aggression, terrorism and natural or man-made disasters.”
She also proposed a “new security partnership” intended to survive the divorce proceedings preceding her country’s departure from the bloc in 2019.
May then traveled on to Tallinn to join her 27 counterparts for an EU summit.