Published: Mon, April 03, 2017
Markets | By Terence Owen

Brexit: EU's Tusk to issue negotiation guidelines


President Tusk told reporters that "the talks which are about to start will be hard, complex and sometimes even confrontational".

Tusk will visit London for talks with May before a special European Union summit on April 29, when the negotiating guidelines are expected to be approved.

Guy Verhofstadt, the European Parliament's chief negotiator, on Thursday suggested that the Government was trying to use terrorism co-operation as a "bargaining" chip.

Tusk said Brussels' second duty was "to prevent a legal vacuum for our companies that stems from the fact that after Brexit the European Union laws will no longer apply to the U.K".

May will announce to Parliament that Britain is set to formally file for divorce from the European Union Wednesday, ending a 44-year relationship, enacting the decision made by United Kingdom voters in a referendum nine months ago and launching both Britain and the bloc into uncharted territory. The EU27 does not and will not pursue a punitive approach. "I hope we will be able to achieve that at an early stage of the negotiations and give EU citizens living here and United Kingdom citizens living in the European Union reassurance about their future".

The EU's draft Brexit guidelines were unveiled by Tusk in Malta on Friday and have been distributed to Britain's 27 EU partners.

But he hinted that trade talks might begin before the deal was concluded if Mrs May was deemed to be co-operating.

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

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"Once and only once we have achieved sufficient progress on the withdrawal can we discuss the framework for our future relationship", European Council president Donald Tusk said at a press conference in Malta on Friday morning.

"The U.K.is now on the other side of the other side of the table", Tusk said, adding that the EU's role is to "minimize the uncertainty" that Brexit has created for businesses and citizens. "We want a comprehensive deal of all aspects of our relationship with the European Union".

The comments illustrate there's some common ground between U.K. Prime Minister Theresa May and her European counterparts on the issue of the fate of more than 4 million EU nationals.

A decision on that could come by the end of this year, a senior European Union official said.

"We are thinking of moving to Australia", a 45-year-old Spanish nurse from Barcelona, who is married to a Spanish doctor, told AFP.

Merkel said on Wednesday that the negotiations "must first clarify how we will disentangle our interlinked relationship ... and only when this question is dealt with can we - hopefully soon after - begin talking about our future relationship".

After May triggered Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty on Wednesday (March 29), Britain now has two years to negotiate the terms and separate itself from the EU.

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