Top diplomats from all 27 EU countries will gather at a secret location in England this month for private talks about the post-Brexit relationship, according to Politico reports.
The EU Delegation to the UK is organising “the first ever EU Heads of Mission Retreat” at the end of April, an invitation seen by the publication reveals.
The event will be hosted by the EU Ambassador Pedro Serrano in a grand manor house on the south coast of England.
It comes after a new trade agreement was struck by the EU and UK in February that sought to amend the post-Brexit protocol and resolve the concerns about red tape raised by Northern Ireland businesses and unionists.
European Commission president Ursula von der Leyen hailed improving relations with the UK as she described the deal as a “new beginning for old friends”.
“It is an opportunity to set our sights on the future of our partnership and to focus on what brings us together”, she said.
Her comments were echoed by Irish premier Leo Varadkar, who said the new trade deal will not be renegotiated, but added that Brexit “will never just be done”.
According to Politico, the Mission Retreat meeting will take place “in an informal setting, with overnight stay, to exchange ideas and debate common challenges with key British interlocutors.”
A spokesperson for the delegation said further invites have been handed to UK-based think tanks – though not to British government officials or politicians – in order to promote a candid discussion.
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