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EU leaders seek unity after Brexit at Bratislava summit

The 27 leaders hold a special summit in Bratislava castle overlooking the Danube in the Slovak capital, to launch a roadmap meant to be agreed in Rome in March next year on the 60th anniversary of the EU’s founding treaty.

With Europe still reeling from the worst migrant crisis since World War II, deadly terror attacks and fallout from the 2008 financial meltdown, the leaders are hoping to show they can learn lessons from Britain’s seismic vote to leave.

But they remain split about the answers.

EU President Donald Tusk said on the summit eve that the leaders must “have a sober and brutally honest assessment of the situation.”

He said he will present a roadmap he hopes will be a first step to show EU citizens that “we have learned the lessons from Brexit” and can restore stability.

In a sign of the tensions over migration, Luxembourg’s foreign minister this week called for Hungary to be suspended from the bloc for treating refugees like “animals”.

Yet European Commission chief Jean-Claude Juncker insisted in his main annual speech on Wednesday that the EU was “not at risk”, as he proposed a host of economic and security measures.

His proposal for a European military headquarters underscores how defence cooperation has become something for the 27 leaders to rally around when they can’t agree on anything else.

Stepping into the fray, France and Germany, the EU’s power couple, have prepared plans for a “more active” defense policy to restore confidence shaken by terror attacks, the migrant crisis and globalization.