Ahead of the first European Council summit without Britain, attitudes across Europe are mixed. Most are keen not to punish the UK or damage their own national interests in the upcoming negotiations, while staying firm on the necessity to respect the EU’s four freedoms. But Brexit will not dominate proceedings. The show must go on, and many are keen to demonstrate progress on security and growth initiatives, in particular, while avoiding over promising through grandiose declarations.
Expect modest rhetoric and an emphasis on Bratislava as the beginning of a process of reflection, rather than a defining moment. In all of this, Warsaw is the outlier, and it remains to be seen how hard it will push its counter-revolution agenda for a return of competences to the national level.