May attended her first Leaders Summit as prime minister yesterday and began by voicing her dissatisfaction about being left out of a meeting of European heads of State in Bratislava last month.
Arriving at the meeting in Brussels Ms May remained adamant that the UK would “continue to play a fill role until we leave and we’ll be a strong and dependable partner after we’ve left”.
“It is in the interest of both the UK and the EU that we continue to work closely together including at this summit,” she said.
Although there will be no discussion or debate on Brexit during the Summit which continues today, European Council president Donald Tusk had asked Ms May to update European leaders on the UK’s plan in relation to Brexit last night.
She was also asked to clarify remarks she made to the Conservative party conference during which she signalled a hard Brexit.
However, at the beginning of the meeting it is understood the British leader criticised the other 27 member State for not inviting her to Bratislava in September.
She insisted while Britain remains part of the EU it should be involved in talks.
Enda Kenny spoke briefly to May at the beginning of the meeting.
Minister of State for European Affairs Dara Murphy said there would be instances when heads of State would have to meet without the UK.
“Of course there has to be meetings of the 27 - when you are talking about divorce which is a term that has been used by the UK as well - there will have to be meetings without the UK. And when decisions have to be made at EU level with the 28, then the 28 will be involved.”
Welcoming May to her first Summit meeting, Mr Tusk said there would be no discussions on Brexit negotiations until Article 50 is triggered.
“Some media described her meeting in the European Council as entering the Lions den, it’s not true. It’s more like a nest of doves,
“You can be sure she will be absolutely safe with us. I he that she will also realize that the EU is still the best company in the world.
Asked if leaders would talk before the triggering of Article 50 he said: “Absolutely not we will not discuss about our future negotiations today.
While French President Francois Hollande said: “She wants a hard Brexit? She will get hard negotiations.”