The 27 remaining members of the European Union will hold a special summit April 29 to create a plan for negotiating with Britain about the country’s exit, European Council President Donald Tusk said Tuesday.
The announcement by Tusk comes a day after Britain said it would trigger proceedings for its departure from the union on March 29.
"Our main priority for the negotiations must be to create as much certainty and clarity as possible for all citizens, companies and member states that will be negatively affected by Brexit,” he said.
Once Britain triggers its departure from the EU next week, the two sides will have until March 2019 to agree on the terms of the separation and come up with a new trade deal.
Tusk said he regretted the decision by Britain to leave the bloc, but added that he would do everything he can to lessen the impact on the EU’s “partners and friends” around the world.
“We must do everything we can to make the process of divorce the least painful for the EU," he said.
Britain voted in a referendum last year to break away from the EU after a more than 40-year-long membership in the bloc and its predecessor, the European Economic Community.