European Council President Donald Tusk (L) shakes hands with Latvian Prime Minister Maris Kucinskis in Riga, Latvia, Sept. 8, 2016. European Council President Donald Tusk said here Thursday next week's European Union (EU) summit in Bratislava has to re-establish political control over the bloc's common future after the Brexit vote in Britain. (Xinhua/Janis)
RIGA, Sept. 8, (Xinhua) -- European Council President Donald Tusk said here Thursday next week's European Union (EU) summit in Bratislava has to re-establish political control over the bloc's common future after the Brexit vote in Britain.
"I am convinced that the summit must be about bringing back political control of our common future. And that it must be about bringing back a strong sense of political community," he told journalists in the Latvian capital.
Tusk also admitted that EU residents were concerned about the migration crisis, terrorism, and external threats, processes they sometimes feel they cannot influence. This is why the EU must demonstrate the will and ability to defend its citizens and offer its residents the feeling of security and stability.
"We have to confront those issues and demonstrate our determination, and our capacity, to ensure on the one hand the openness of Europe, while on the other the protection of our citizens," Tusk said.
"Much of this is under the responsibility of member states, but the EU can assist them. The European Union must help provide a renewed sense of security and stability to Europeans," Tusk said.
He also stressed it was in the interests of all to begin talks on Britain's exit from the EU as soon as possible so as to lessen the uncertainty felt by EU residents.
"But the negotiations cannot begin until the UK activates the process for withdrawal. Article 50 of the (EU) Treaty is very clear. In fact, it is there to protect the interests of the countries remaining in the EU," Tusk said.
Expressing understanding of the concerns Latvians have in regard to Brexit and being permitted to live and work in Britain, Tusk emphasized that one of the most important discussion topics would be to ensure the rights of EU citizens in Britain.
"Our future relationship with the UK requires a balance of rights and obligations -- any access to the single market must be based on the four freedoms, including the freedom of movement," he emphasized.
During his visit, Tusk met with Latvian Prime Minister Maris Kucinskis. The main topic of their talks was the EU summit on Sept. 16 in Bratislava, at which EU leaders planned to discuss the future of the bloc without Britain.