Britain considering citizenship rights post-Brexit, says May

Tusk said he would meet with British Prime Minister Theresa May in London before an April 29 summit in Brussels.

France and Germany have led opposition to the parallel talks that Ms May had demanded.

This includes dealing with Britain's existing commitments to the European Union; providing clarity and legal certainty to European Union citizens, businesses and other stakeholders; and "creative and flexible" solutions to avoiding a hard border between Northern Ireland and Ireland.

The EU's approach to the talks which will establish Britain's new relationship with the remaining 27 member states is to be set out by European Council president Donald Tusk.

Speaking at the meeting, German Chancellor Angela Merkel did not mention Brexit directly, but said the European Union must guarantee the prosperity and security of its citizens or risk them turning away.

It said it is making preparations in case talks break down.

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".

The German Chancellor, hours after May triggered Article 50 on Wednesday, had said that Britain could negotiate its future relationship with the European Union only after it liberates itself from its existing European Union commitments.

"Starting parallel talks on all issues at the same time, as suggested by some in the United Kingdom, will not happen", he said, adding that the EU-27 will assess "probably [in] the autumn if sufficient progress has been achieved". The UK's rights and obligations had to be addressed first, she said.

"It's not a threat", Brexit minister David Davis told BBC radio after warnings from Brussels against using security as a bargaining chip in the talks.

The bloc "will prepare itself to be able to handle the situation also if the negotiations were to fail", the guidelines said.

"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".

In the article published Thursday, May writes: "We know that we will lose influence regarding the regulations of the European economy".

The proposals come after German Chancellor Angela Merkel and outgoing French President Francois Hollande rejected May's call for an early free trade agreement.

What is certain for now is that at least until the negotiations have been fully concluded and Britain has both practically and officially left the European Union it remains "a full Member of the European Union, subject to all rights and obligations set out in the Treaties and under EU law, including the principle of honest cooperation".

Draft guidelines obtained by the Associated Press say that the European Union and Britain must first "settle the disentanglement" of Britain from the bloc. He said the level of progress would be decided by the 27 member states.

The frontrunner in the race to succeed him, the centrist Emmanuel Macron, said the overriding priority must be to defend the EU. If the country and the European Union can not reach an agreement then the country leaves without anything.

  • Leroy Wright