EU Draft Guidelines Soften Line on Future UK Relationship

Scotland's parliament voted Tuesday to back First Minister Nicola Sturgeon's call for a referendum on independence within two years.

Mrs May formally notified the European Union of Britain's intention to leave in a letter to Mr Tusk that diplomats described as surprisingly conciliatory in tone for the most part.

The EU's guidelines state that EU citizens now living in the United Kingdom and British citizens now living in the EU must keep on enjoying their current rights, and that such guarantees must be enforceable and non-discriminatory.

EU27 does not, will not pursue punitive approach. Mr Tusk's perspective is that the process of leaving is "punitive" enough without further punishment being necessary.

"Should a time-limited prolongation of Union acquis be considered, this would require existing Union regulatory, budgetary, supervisory and enforcement instruments and structures to apply", Tusk's draft guidelines stated in reference to a transition period that diplomats expect could last two to five years to smooth Brexit.

By insisting that the principles of the divorce bill be settled first, the leaders of the 27 are also stopping Mrs May using payments as a bargaining chip over the future trading relationship.

In a clear warning to the United Kingdom not to attempt to gain advantage by using divide-and-rule tactics to cut special deals with national capitals, the guidelines state that member states will not negotiate individually with the United Kingdom but through a fixed point of reference - the EU's chief Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier.

The second phase will attempt to set out the framework for a free trade agreement that can then be signed at some point after Brexit. It can not, however, amount to participation in the Single Market or parts thereof, as this would undermine its integrity and proper functioning. Mr. Tusk was even more blunt on Friday, describing the negotiations as "damage control".

Another priority is to settle questions about British and other European citizens living in each other's countries, and find "flexible and imaginative solutions" for the UK's land border with Ireland.

A Government spokesman said: 'These are draft guidelines and we look forward to beginning negotiations once they have been formally agreed by the 27 member states.

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".

Europe will be on alert for any attempt by Britain to divide and rule the remaining 27 European Union countries.

French President Francois Hollande followed German Chancellor Angela Merkel in snubbing May's proposed structure for the negotiations, saying the exit agreement should come first. You are not liable to pay for the gym's running costs when you are no longer a member.

A Belgian municipality official said: "We understand the concern they feel over losing their jobs after their country voted to leave the European Union".

"It doesn't work like that - you can not use, or abuse, I should say, the security of citizens to have then a good deal on something else". It says rights acquired before a cutoff on the day Brexit takes effect should be retained.

Prime Minister Theresa May triggered the formal Brexit process on Wednesday with a letter to Tusk that said "our cooperation in the fight against crime and terrorism would be weakened" if Britain leaves the European Union without a new deal.

"The Prime Minister should accept this offer, as it is the best way to make sure that British jobs and businesses are not put in danger".

From the outset it is clear that the European Union side will control the agenda.

Mr Johnson insisted the UK's commitment to the defence and security of Europe was "unconditional".

"We make an unconditional commitment to the defence and the security of Europe".

The draft EU document, which runs to nine pages, lays out EU leaders' plans for a phased approach to negotiations, with trade talks to begin only when the EU is ready.

  • Leroy Wright