Jean-Claude Juncker walks alone in Sibiu, Romania. © Reuters / Yves Herman / Francois Lenoir

EU Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker said he was “missing” UK Prime Minister Theresa May at the informal summit of EU countries in Romania, where they – except the UK – got together to show unity amid Brexit turmoil.

The EU bigwigs gathered in the Romanian city of Sibiu on Thursday ahead of the bloc’s parliamentary elections, scheduled for late May. While the meeting is largely informal and no major decisions are expected from it, its goal is clear – EU leaders are standing together. Or, at least, appear to be doing so.

“We will talk about our strategic agenda for the future and will agree a declaration which will make clear that, regardless of our political differences, we all believe – all member of the European Union – that acting together is better,” German Chancellor Angela Merkel said ahead of the gathering.

One of the major sources of instability within the bloc – the UK, entangled in its messy Brexit process – did not attend the event. While the EU leaders insisted that Brexit was not on the agenda, PM Theresa May has seemingly given them breathing room and stayed away.

Some, however, were still “missing” her despite all the painstaking – and rather fruitless – Brexit talks the EU and the UK have been engaging in over the past months. When asked by reporters if he wished May was at the event EU Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker – at least half-jokingly – admitted it.

“I’m missing her,” Juncker said, shrugging slightly.

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