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Joseph Muscat, prime minister of Malta, which currently holds the EU presidency, says many of his EU counterparts believed until just a few weeks ago the UK’s decision to quit the EU could be reversed.

“I think that was the widespread impression” he told the BBC Today programme on the day of the UK’s formal notification of exit which is due at noon in London.

“I also think whoever thought so, maybe did not understand the British situation. So yes there was a widespread belief this could be short-circuited.”

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