In response to the PM’s announcement she was triggering Article 50 on March 29, Donald Tusk, president of the EU council, called for an emergency summit on Tuesday.
He said: “I would like to inform you that I will call a European council on Saturday 29th April to adopt the guidelines for the Brexit talks.”
Bloc members are expected to agree on their negotiation position ahead of official talks with Britain during the meeting.
EU finance ministers signalled there will be no early talks with Brussels, despite the summit being held a month after the triggering of Article 50, and struck a frosty tone on a number of big negotiating issues.
GETTY • BLOOMBERG
Dutch Finance Minister Jeroen Dijsselbloem said he hoped for realism from Britain
He said: “[The UK needs] realism on the sequence of things. Realism on the price, it’s going to cost.
“Realism on the complexity and so the time needed because up to now I’ve missed this very much from the UK Government.”
Germany’s finance minister, Wolfgang Schäuble, said: “No, the negotiations will begin as soon as the petition to trigger Article 50 is filed. Requirements will continue as long as the rules of the agreement are set out. Great Britain is a dependable partner in all international agreements so I have no doubts.”
[The UK needs] realism on the sequence of things. Realism on the price
Dutch Finance Minister Jeroen Dijsselbloem
Meanwhile Italy’s economy and finance minister appeared less enthusiastic as he said the UK and the EU were going into negotiations with “different perspectives”.
Get Quotes on Home Insurance
Pier Carlo Padoan said: “I’ve already had the chance to speak with Chancellor Hammond… and I think that of course the UK and EU27 are looking at the issue from different perspectives.”
Announcing the emergency summit on Tuesday, Mr Tusk said: "I personally wish the UK hadn’t chosen to leave the EU but the majority of British voters decided otherwise.
“We must do everything we can to make the divorce the least painful for the EU. Our main priority for the negotiations must be to create as much certainty and clarity as possible for all citizens, companies and member states that will be negatively affected by Brexit.”
Brexit: Results of how the UK voted Mon, March 20, 2017
Much of the North East of the United Kingdom voted to leave the European Union including Sunderland, Gateshead, Darlington, Durham, Hartlepool, Middlesbrough, Stockton, Redcar and Cleveland, North Tyneside and South Tyneside, and Northumberland
Getty Images 1 of 8
GREAT YARMOUTH: The town of Great Yarmouth on the East Coast of England voted by 72% to leave the European Union.
Despite chilly welcome of Mrs May’s Brexit announcement, former cabinet minister Michael Gove said he believed Britain would get a good deal with the bloc.
Speaking to talkRADIO’s Julia Hartley-Brewer the Brexiteer said he did not believe Britain would be punished for leaving and the Government could strike a deal within two years.
Mr Gove said: “No I don’t think that will happen. I think it is certainly the case that at the moment some European Union leaders are worried about the prospect of other countries quitting.
“I’m very positive. I’ve had the chance to talk to, in private, some European politicians and their tone in private is different from that in public. In public, they express regret and they say it will be a difficult journey. In private, they are very pragmatic.
“They want to ensure we move on as quickly as possible to a stable new relationship between Britain and the EU and one that doesn’t harm them economically.”