Brexit: EU says it doesn't want to 'punish' Britain for leaving

May repeated that phrase four times in her six-page letter formally triggering Article 50 Wednesday, underscoring the importance that she places on implementing what she called a new "deep and special partnership" before the United Kingdom breaks free from the bloc.

While British Prime Minister Theresa May's letter focuses a lot on security, the draft resolution states " ... whatever the outcome of negotiations on the future of European-United Kingdom relationship, they can not involve any trade-off between internal and external security including defense cooperation, on the one hand, and the future economic relationship, on the other hand", said May.

Davis, who will be Britain's chief negotiator in Brussels during the two-year negotiation process, said the rights of British expats would be the first priority in Brexit talks.

European Union: trade deal talks can only begin once "sufficient progress" is made on the terms of Britain's exit.

EU Council President Donald Tusk this morning pledged that the EU would not pursue a "punitive" approach during forthcoming Brexit negotiations but pointed out that the consequences of the UK's departure would be punitive enough. However, he pledged that the European Union will not pursue a punitive approach.

Her spokesman added: "It is a simple statement of fact ... if we leave without a deal, the arrangements we have will lapse".

French President Francois Hollande has already told the British Prime Minister that the withdrawal agreement should come first.

The letter was published in the Le Parisien newspaper and attempted to reassure the French that Britain does not want to harm France or any other country in the European Union by leaving the bloc.

The guidelines say that the European Union called for a "phased approach" that prioritises an orderly withdrawal that reduces the disruption caused by Britain's departure in March 2019.

Only once "sufficient progress" has been achieved on this phase will talks move on to the future relationship. This is why I rule out this kind of interpretation ... that security co-operation is used as a bargaining chip. It also paves the way for the repeal of the European Communities Act of 1972 which originally took Britain into membership of the EU.

The EU 27 will adopt the guidelines at a special summit on April 29.

A majority of Britons voted to leave the European Union at a referendum in June.

Brexit secretary David Davis and his team insisted that counterparts in Brussels received Britain's Article 50 letter positively on Wednesday.

Mr Tusk was addressing a joint news conference with Prime Minister Joseph Muscat at Castille, in which he presented the draft Brexit negotiating guidelines. Moreover, there should be guarantees in place for EU citizens' and companies, while the U.K must recognize the competence of the European Court of Justice for the interpretation and enforcement of the withdrawal agreement.

"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", a United Kingdom government spokesman said.

  • Leroy Wright