Draft EU guidelines show both sides constructive on Brexit talks

10 April 2017, 02:11 | Isaac Mcdaniel

Draft EU guidelines show both sides constructive on Brexit talks

Draft EU guidelines show both sides constructive on Brexit talks

Britain, which formally launched the process of leaving the European Union on Wednesday, wants simultaneous talks on Brexit and future ties with the EU's remaining 27 states, especially on trade.

Maltese Prime Minister Joseph Muscat, who is the incumbent rotating EU President, appeared alongside Tusk at the conference and said the Brexit negotiations will be tough but "it will not be a war".

"It is clear both sides wish to approach these talks constructively and, as the prime minister said this week, wish to ensure a deep and special partnership between the United Kingdom and the European Union".

Ahead of the publication, the library of the House of Commons, parliament's elected lower house, warned that assimilating European Union law into British law was "potentially one of the largest legislative projects ever undertaken in the UK".

Some governments are firmer than others in refusing trade talks from the start, so the guidelines could change.

"We believe the negotiation should take place in parallel".

EU-UK talks could start as soon as May 22 when the bloc's Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier is expected to get a mandate from the EU 27, although "pre-negotiations" on the language and format of the discussions could begin sooner.

The draft says the EU's overall objective is "to preserve its interests, those of its member states, its citizens and its businesses".

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On Thursday, Lord Kerr, the former British ambassador to the European Union and the original author of Article 50, said that negotiations over the divorce settlement between the United Kingdom and the remaining European Union members must take place simultaneously with talks over their future relationship. It will be sent to the 27 remaining member states for approval.

Germany says the question of Britain's commitments toward the European Union after it leaves the bloc needs to be resolved before talks about future relations with the United Kingdom can begin.

The European Council President's nine-page document states that there must be "sufficient progress" on withdrawal talks - including a "divorce bill" potentially running as high as £50bn - before negotiations on future relations begin.

He added that "the EU-27 does not and will not pursue a punitive approach" because "Brexit in itself is already punitive enough".

"We will continue to play our part in ensuring that Europe remains strong and prosperous and able to lead in the world", she writes in the "Irish Times", a day after formally launching the process of the UK's exit from the EU.

"May very constructive generally, but there is also one threat in it", European Parliament Brexit co-ordinator Guy Verhoftstadt said, adding that May seemed to be demanding a good trade deal in exchange for continued security co-operation.

Earlier this week the Taoiseach said he was confident that Ireland's interests will be reflected in the draft Brexit negotiating guidelines due to be published by Brussels on Friday.

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