Berlin, June 25 (IANS) The foreign ministers of the six founding countries of the European Union (EU) met on Saturday in Berlin at the invitation of Germany to consider the future of the bloc after Britain voted to exit it.
The meeting between the diplomats of Germany, France, Italy, Belgium, the Netherlands and Luxembourg marks the first multilateral talks to be convened after the outcome of the UK referendum, in which some 52 per cent of Britons voted for exit, Efe news reported.
German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier said just before the meeting that the “expectations”, “sensitive points” and visions of the governments of the 27 remaining EU countries should now be collected after the “shock” of the Brexit.
The German diplomat added that there are several priority issues to be addressed, such as the refugee crisis, employment in southern Europe and security issues, as evidenced by the terror attacks in Paris and Brussels.
Upon his arrival, Belgian Foreign Minister Didier Reynders called for exerting more efforts with partners or with the 27 EU countries, while his Dutch counterpart Bert Koenders underlined the necessity to search for new “constructive and innovative” forms of cooperation.
As for criticism over the absence of the other remaining EU countries from this meeting, Steinmeier responded that viewpoints were exchanged on Friday between all foreign ministers of the bloc in Luxembourg in a meeting, which was scheduled before knowing the outcome of the EU referendum.
The German minister added that many meetings will be held in the coming days to consider all opinions.