EU Officials Hold Secret Talks to Plan for Brexit

European Union officials and diplomats launched a round of confidential discussions this week to prepare a coordinated response to a possible British vote to leave the bloc next month.

Senior diplomats from founding powers Germany and France, as well as several other countries, met on Monday for talks chaired by European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker’s chief of staff, Martin Selmayr, several sources told Reuters.

One source with direct knowledge of Monday’s discussion said it was intended to be followed by others on specific topics.

The Commission and representatives of those governments present at the meeting declined official comment. Britain, the EU’s second biggest economy, was not present.

EU institutions and Britain’s 27 partner states have been at great pains to avoid discussing in public the possibility that Brexit could actually happen, for fear of fuelling a Leave vote. Many senior officials admit in private they have no clear idea how events might unfold on the morning after.