UK publishes White Paper to replace EU law post-Brexit

Speaking in Malta, Mr Tusk said he will visit London for talks with Theresa May ahead of a special summit of the 27 remaining European Union states in Brussels on April 29, when they are expected to approve the negotiating guidelines, clearing the way for talks to begin in earnest.

"The unity of [the] 27 is vital", Liberal group leader Guy Verhofstadt told journalists.

The guidelines say it is a priority to settle questions about British and other European citizens living in each other's countries, and call for "flexible and imaginative solutions" for the issue of the U.K.'s land border with EU member Ireland.

But that leaves only 10 months before October 2018 when Barnier says the talks must wrap up to give time for the European Parliament and member states to approve what the negotiators come up with.

"These are draft guidelines and we look forward to beginning negotiations once they have been formally agreed by the 27 member states", a government spokesperson said.

Withdrawal negotiations were essentially a matter of "damage control" following a Brexit decision which had created "disruption and uncertainty", he said, predicting that talks would be "difficult, complex and sometimes even confrontational".

Britain formally launched the process to leave the European Union on Wednesday with Ambassador Tim Barrow personally delivering the letter, signed by the British premier, at Tusk's office in Brussels, the journalist said.

Tusk ruled out the suggestion there was an inherent threat in May's departure letter Wednesday, which some felt hinted that Britain would end its security cooperation with continental Europe unless it gets a good Brexit deal.

The EU has asked for a payment worth £50 billion ($62.36 billion) but Prime Minister Theresa May and Brexit minister David Davis are keen to hand over a significantly reduced sum.

The EU council president also allayed concerns that security would be used as a bargaining chip during negotiations, saying remarks made by UK Prime Minister Theresa May had been "misunderstood". "It must be a misunderstanding", Tusk said.

She also accepted that some of the consequences of the Brexit are inevitable such as losing influence over the rules that affect the European economy.

In the first signs of a business fall-out since May's Brexit notification, the prestigious Lloyd's of London insurance market said it would open a new Brussels subsidiary to ensure smooth operations in the EU. She said in January, "While I am sure a positive agreement can be reached, I am equally clear that no deal for Britain is better than a bad deal for Britain".

BRUSSELS-The European Union won't agree to any future trade pact with the United Kingdom until after Britain leaves the bloc and will look to set tight conditions on a divorce deal, according to a draft of the bloc's negotiating guidelines, setting the EU and Britain on a collision course over key issues in coming talks.

Denmark's prime minister Lars Loekke Rasmussen said in a statement that Britain's "goodbye" to the European Union is "incredibly sad", adding that he expects "many bumps on the road".

The guidelines were leaked moments before European Council president Donald Tusk was due to launch them at a press conference in Malta.

  • Leroy Wright