EU deal 'in all our interests', May tells European press

Britain's EU ambassador delivered a letter from May to European Council President Donald Tusk, confirming the plan to leave and formally launching the process, nine months after Britons voted in a referendum on June 23.

European Union president Donald Tusk's draft guidelines say the other 27 countries are ready for a transitional deal after Britain's exit in March 2019, but that such an arrangement would have to be under European Union rules.

The guidelines, which may be revised before the EU27 leaders endorse them at a summit on April 29, came two days after Prime Minister Theresa May triggered a two-year countdown to Britain's withdrawal in a letter to Tusk that included a request for a rapid start to negotiations on a post-Brexit free trade deal.

But the document makes clear that, from now on, the EU must speak with one voice on Brexit, with no bilateral negotiations between London and European capitals.

April 27 - European Union affairs ministers of the 27 - the General Affairs Council or GAC - meet in Luxembourg to prepare EU27 summit.

"Converting EU law into United Kingdom law, and ending the supremacy of lawmakers in Brussels, is an important step in giving businesses, workers and consumers the certainty they need".

The EU said that no trade deal can be agreed on before Brexit takes effect. "This is in the best interest of both sides", the draft says.

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

First of all I would like to thank Prime Minister Muscat for his hospitality and the extraordinary job already done by the Maltese presidency.

Barnier has said tackling those uncertainties will be his top priority, along with ensuring Britain pays what Brussels argues it owes as a share of commitments made by the European Union but not yet funded - maybe of the order of 60 billion euros. "It is only fair towards all those people, communities, farmers, scientists and so on, whom we, all the 28, promised and owe this money".

As expected, Tusk proposes a phased approach to negotiations, starting with the details of the divorce before moving on to a framework for future relations between the European Union and Britain.

In an interview on the BBC program "Brexit - What Next?"

According to The Guardian, a Downing Street spokesperson said that the approach by Merkel and Hollande is a negotiating tactic.

The EU insists it is unified ahead of the negotiations.

However, German chancellor Angela Merkel and French president Francois Hollande have both stated their opposition, arguing that the United Kingdom must complete divorce talks first.

A first phase would seek to disentangle Britain from its commitments and ties with the EU and resolve the status of expatriate citizens, before moving on to a second phase establishing the terms of future EU-UK relations.

Also looming large is the so-called "exit bill" which Britain will have to pay, estimated to be as much as 60 billion euros (S$89.8 billion), and the border between Northern Ireland and Ireland.

"It is only if we have sorted that out that we can next - and I hope soon - talk about our future relationship".

  • Zachary Reyes