European Union countries are meeting in Brussels to discuss a joint strategy for negotiations with the UK over Brexit. Twenty-seven countries will be present, but the UK will not take part. The EU will insist that progress must be made in talks on separating the UK from the EU, before any discussions can begin about future trade relations. Official talks between London and the EU will not begin until after the UK general election on 8 June.
In a letter to leaders of the EU-27 European Council President Donald Tusk says agreement on people, money and Ireland must come before negotiations on the EU's future relationship with the UK.
The UK government has said it does not want to delay talks on future trade relations, while the EU issued draft guidelines on Brexit on 31 March.
Mr Tusk's letter - calling for a phased approach to Brexit - echoed German Chancellor Angela Merkel's priorities, which she set out on Thursday.
Before discussing our future, we must first sort out our past, he said, listing three priorities: On EU citizens living in the UK, he called for effective, enforceable, non-discriminatory and comprehensive guarantees. The UK must fulfill all its financial obligations agreed as an EU member state. A deal must be reached to avoid a hard border between the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland
We will not discuss our future relations with the UK until we have achieved sufficient progress on the main issues relating to the UK's withdrawal from the EU, he said.
Meanwhile, German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble said the UK would not have advantages over 27 EU members once Brexit negotiations were concluded.
There is no free lunch. Britons must know that, he told Germany's Funke Media Group.
EU officials estimate that the UK faces a bill of €60bn because of EU budget rules. UK politicians have said the government will not pay a sum of that size.
Reports say Irish Prime Minister (Taoiseach) Enda Kenny will also ask his EU partners to back the idea of Northern Ireland automatically joining the EU if the province's people vote to unite with the Republic. But UK Brexit Secretary, David Davis, has said that in the event of such a vote, Northern Ireland could become a part of an existing EU member state.
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Well our world renowned political and historically inept guru has spoken again.Apr 30th, 2017 - 09:05 am +1
Two European elections (France and Germany) to be decided this year. It may go badly for EU unity...who knows.
The EU will have to compromise as will the UK. To think that either side will triumph is nonsense.
recently escaped pirates....what has Argentina got to do with this? Your piratical attempt to seize the Falklands was well and truly rebuffed.
If the UK is such a hell-hole, why are there millions of EU citizens desperate to settle and work here. If, as you predict by your tarot cards or rune stones, that the UK falls into terminal decline, why are these people not leaving in droves ?
Our bottom line could be turning the UK into a tax haven and screwing the EU finances if they intend to screw us.
Where is the diplomacy in the EU ? They will tell the UK what they will have to do...no negotiations. By the way, thank you for your complement although it's higher than I would expect.Apr 30th, 2017 - 08:48 pm +1
The UK is 10 levels above our league here....I would have modestly said about 2 to 3.
If you make ambiguous statements expect a reply not to your liking.
We are used to fighting against greater odds...it's a national characteristic.
Sometimes you have to fight against greater odds...or capitulate. I don't think the country is in a mood to capitulate.May 01st, 2017 - 09:14 am +1
If you think that we may be screwed by the EU because they are so adept at diplomacy....it is possible. However, it will cause such a feeling of dissent in the UK that we will probably try to get our own back against individual members. You can see how it could affect Spain.
Also, do you seriously think that the UK will look fondly to any requests for assistance either militarily or diplomatic from EU members in times of tension ? If we are on our own, so are they.
As for demands for £60 billion to leave the club....get stuffed.
The EU is a club which discriminates against world trade. Poorer countries cannot get to sell their products here without tariffs.
Our ex Caribbean colonies could not get their bananas into the EU while French colonies...in Africa.. could by the simple expedient of saying they were part of France.
Anyway, I think the EU is in for a big shake up over and above Brexit and will evolve as a different animal or else it's weight of bureaucracy will make it collapse.