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Remarks by President Tusk ahead of the Special European Council (Art.50) of 29 April 2017

Met dank overgenomen van Europese Raad, gepubliceerd op zaterdag 29 april 2017.

Good morning. Let me just say three things.

First. We all want a close and strong future relationship with the UK. There's absolutely no question about it. But before discussing the future, we have to sort out our past. We will handle it with genuine care, but firmly. This is, I think, the only possible way to move forward.

We also need solid guarantees for all citizens and their families who will be affected by Brexit, on both sides. This must be the number one priority for the EU and the UK. And the Commission has already prepared a precise and detailed list of citizens' rights we want to protect.

And finally. We need to remain united as EU27. It is only then that we will be able to conclude the negotiations. Which means that our unity is also in the UK's interest. And as for now, I feel strong support from all the EU institutions, including the European Parliament, as well as all the 27 Member States. I know this is something unique, but I am confident that it will not change.

Thank you.

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