European Union President Donald Tusk is predicting that Britain will trigger the start of its exit negotiations from the bloc early next year.

Tusk said following an EU summit held without Britain that he had met recently with British Prime Minister Theresa May, who told him it was not going to happen as soon as many EU leaders had hoped after the June 23 referendum to leave the EU.

Tusk said Friday that "she declared that it is almost impossible to trigger Article 50 this year," referring to the rule that covers exit negotiations. "But it is quite likely that they will ready maybe in January, maybe in February next year."

The 27 other EU leaders started talks on Friday on how to revamp the EU.