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>> EU leaders gathering Friday in Bratislava, but one chair will be empty. Britain not turning up after it's shock vote for Brexit. This officially an informal get together for the remaining 27 member states. Now some EU leaders say the block faces a moment of existential crisis. Reuters' special correspondent for Europe, Noah Barkin, is in Bratislava.
He says, don't bet on any major breakthroughs.>> What we're gonna see here in Bratislava is the beginning of a process. The idea is to create a so-called road map for how to move forward. There'll be discussions over the next six months. And then in March, on the 60th anniversary of the Rome Treaty, leaders are expected to come out with more concrete proposals.
>> For now leaders will probably focus on areas where they can agree. That could include defense collaboration and bolstering border security. Domestic politics may prevent any bigger decisions with elections looming in France, Germany, and the Netherlands. Meanwhile, Italy's coalition faces a make-or-break referendum. And Spain's still doesn't have a government after two inconclusive elections.
>> These are the five biggest countries in the Eurozone. They're gonna be preoccupied with domestic issues for the next year, and that will make it much more difficult to reach big compromises, and also to launch major new initiatives for the EU.>> Brexit isn't officially on the agenda in Bratislava, but everything the EU does is not shaped by Britain's decision to leave.
The block under pressure to show that it's still relevant and capable of change. This weekend's talks may fall short on both fronts.