European Union open to May's bid for early post-Brexit trade talks

Posted April 03, 2017

Joseph Muscat, the prime minister of Malta, which now holds the European Union presidency, said: "It will be a tough negotiation, but it will not be a war".

"Starting parallel talks on all issues, at the same time as suggested by some in the United Kingdom, will not happen", Tusk continued.

Saturday, April 29 - EU27 leaders meet in Brussels to agree guidelines and mandate Frenchman Michel Barnier, a former European Commissioner, as chief negotiator.

"The negotiations must first clarify how we will disentangle our interlinked relationship", the chancellor said in Berlin - a stance backed by French President Francois Hollande. This is why I rule out this kind of interpretation ... that security cooperation is used as a bargaining chip.

"The EU 27 does not, and will not pursue a punitive approach - Brexit in itself is already punitive enough", he said.

On Wednesday, the Prime Minister set out her priorities for Brexit talks in a letter which triggered Article 50.

In a statement to MPs, David Davis said the repeal bill would allow businesses to continue operating on the day after United Kingdom leaves the European Union "knowing the rules have not changed overnight".

The European Council offered what EU sources described as a "carrot" with a two-phase approach: progress on divorce terms first, then trade talks.

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François Hollande has told Theresa May the European Union is not prepared to discuss Britain's future relationship with the bloc until the conditions of its exit have been agreed.

The draft guidelines, which will now be sent to the 27 leaders, come two days after May formally notified the European Union about Britain's intention to withdraw from the bloc in two years. Still, the guidelines reiterate that the relationship can not have the same benefits as membership as well as stating that the future trade deal will not amount to participation of the single market or to parts of the single market.

Friday, March 31 - Around 9 a.m. (0700 GMT) Tusk will send the 27 other states draft negotiating guidelines.

But if May wants to use 'blackmail, ' she might want to make sure we have a leg to stand on. "You start at five o'clock in the morning, up to 10 hours every day, six days a week", said Szomoru, who came to Britain 10 years ago and started out picking strawberries before being promoted to her current job.

Meanwhile, May published articles in five European newspapers that linked security cooperation with the Brexit talks, reiterating the controversial position taken in her article 50 letter on Wednesday.

"Only once we have achieved sufficient progress on the withdrawal, can we discuss the framework for our future relationship", Tusk tweeted.

"We really are moving forward now".

Tusk said he had hurried to present the guidelines swiftly because the negotiations would be conducted under a tight timetable: "The Treaty gives us only two years", he said, indicating that there was not much appetite to extend the period.