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Britain will play a full role till it leaves the EU, says May

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Britain will play a full role till it leaves the EU, says May

May - Juncker - Photo EU Council

(BRUSSELS) - Britain's new prime minister Theresa May arrived for her first EU summit Thursday, pledging the UK would play a full role until it leaves the EU, and urging a "united European stance in the face of Russian aggression".

European leaders were meeting for a two-day summit to focus on three major issues: migration, trade and Russia, including its role in Syria.

Mrs May said the UK had put Russian actions in Syria on the summit agenda: "it's vital that we work together to continue to put pressure on Russia to stop its appalling atrocities, its sickening atrocities in Syria," she said.

As with the few summits, migration featured high on the priority list, including work carried out by the Commission to implement the EU-Turkey Statement, work with third countries of transit and origin on Migration Partnerships and the swift operationalisation of the European Border and Coast Guard.

EU leaders were also to discuss trade, including trying to address Belgian concerns about the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement with Canada (CETA). "We have a special responsibility regarding the agreement with Canada. There is still work to be done, but I hope we will find a way forward," said President Tusk in his invitation letter.

Other topics were expected to include the Commission's Investment Plan for Europe, ratification of the Paris Agreement on climate change, and external relations.

They were to focus on cooperation with African countries of source and transit for migrants. They heard a presentation by the EU High Representative and the Commission President about the state of play of so-called 'migration compacts' between the EU and African states.

European Council conclusions on migration, 20 October 2016

European Council, 20-21/10/2016

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