"There will be no such thing as a Brexit without any cost for Britain"

The Belgian PM Charles Michel has said that "at the start of the (Brexit) negotiations, it is of the utmost importance to come out with a clear message and to be on one line to start these discussions. The 27 EU countries together think that a Brexit without cost will of course not be possible for Britain."

Host Charles Michel was rephrasing the feelings of the European block in Brussels. He added that as far as he is concerned there is no feeling of revenge or wrath, but that they will stick to their guns. "There will be no such thing as a Brexit free of charge. If you decide to pull out, you have to bear the consequences." 

European leaders assembled in Brussels today to decide on a joint position before tackling the Brexit negotiations with Britain. Leaders were rejoicing in a rare show of unity in adversity, but Michel admitted this may change in the weeks to come before the talks can kick off - after the British elections.

This is because two EU agencies which are now located in London, will have to move to the Continent, and various European countries have applied to take them in - The European Banking Authority and the European Medicines Agency. "It will be interesting to see how this battle unfolds," says the VRT's EU watcher Rob Heirbaut.

"First handle the divorce"

The leading politicians were meeting for the first time since Theresa May triggered the start of the two-year divorce procedure with Europe. The 27 leaders approved 8 pages of negotiating guidelines in just a couple of minutes.

The EU first wants to settle the divorce before talking about what should come next, i.e. new trade deals, a hard or soft Brexit etc. First, a decision should be made on British and European expats, and on the British EU exit bill for outstanding commitments.