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Financial News: EU Says Talks On Future Deal With UK

EU Says Talks On Future Deal With UK Only After Sufficient Progress On Exit

03/31/2017 - 10:22:00 (RTTNews)

(RTTNews) - Discussions on the European Union's future relationship with the United Kingdom can be held only after sufficient progress is made on the country's exit, European Council President Donald Tusk said Friday.

The EU stance is in contrast to the British Prime Minister Theresa May's proposal that talks on the UK withdrawal and future relationship with the EU, covering areas such as trade and citizens rights, be held simultaneously.

EU27 leaders will discuss the draft guidelines for Brexit talks, to be proposed by Tusk, at a European Council meet in Malta on Friday.

"Once, and only once we have achieved sufficient progress on the withdrawal, can we discuss the framework for our future relationship," Tusk said at a joint press conference with Maltese Prime Minister Joseph Muscat.

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

The EU also shares the UK's desire to have a close partnership between both, the top EU official said.

"Strong ties, reaching beyond the economy and including security cooperation, remain in our common interest," he added.

Talks with the UK, which are about to start, "will be difficult, complex and sometimes even confrontational", Tusk said.

The EU27 does not and will not pursue a punitive approach, he said, adding that Brexit in itself was already punitive enough.

Tusk also noted that both parties were responsible to do everything to make the separation as smooth as possible.

He said he will visit May in London before the European Council meet scheduled for April 29.

The draft guidelines proposed by Tusk will focus on minimizing the uncertainty and disruption due to Brexit for EU citizens, businesses and members.

"In essence it is about damage control," Tusk reiterated.

He stressed on the importance of settling the status and situations of EU citizens working and studying in the UK with "reciprocal, enforceable and non-discriminatory guarantees".

The EU27 will also strive to prevent a legal vacuum for European companies as after Brexit the EU laws will no longer apply to the UK.

Tusk asserted that the EU will also make sure that the UK honors all financial commitments and liabilities it had taken as a Member State.

"It is only fair towards all those people, communities, scientists, farmers and so on to whom we, all the 28, promised and owe this money," Tusk said.

"I can guarantee that the EU, on our part, will honor all our commitments."

The EU leader also emphasized on the importance of supporting the peace process in Northern Ireland, saying that the EU will seek flexible and creative solutions aimed at avoiding a hard border between Northern Ireland and Ireland.

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