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Alternate Foreign Minister G. Katrougalos attends meeting of EU General Affairs Council (Brussels, 22 May 2017)
Alternate Foreign Minister Katrougalos today participated in a meeting of the EU General Affairs Council, which approved the European Union's methodology and guiding principles in the Brexit negotiations and issued the final mandate to the European Union's chief negotiator, Michel Barnier. Mr. Katrougalos noted that these negotiations are not being carried out in a vacuum, but in the context of real existential moments for the Union.
The Brexit, he stressed, was just a single instance of citizens' generalised sense of alienation from Europe, in reaction to the austerity policies hobbling the economy and pulling apart societies. For this reason, the negotiations must be carried out bearing in mind the concurrent dialogue on the future of Europe, and not be aimed simply at a 'velvet divorce' from the UK.
The goal must be a Europe that is more social and more democratic in the post-Brexit era. For the same reason, moreover, the negotiations must not be punitive in nature. Because the message to the peoples of Europe, Mr. Katrougalos concluded, must not be that it is costly to leave the EU, but that staying in the EU is the right choice for just development and prosperity.