EU draft guidelines set tone on future UK relationship

EU draft guidelines set tone on future UK relationshipThe EU has outlined its strategy for Brexit negotiations, suggesting talks on a trade deal could begin once "sufficient progress" is made on a separation settlement with the UK, according to BBC on Friday.

The guidelines, issued by European Council President Donald Tusk, argue for a "phased approach" in talks.

The draft will be sent to the 27 member states for approval. They will set the tone for two years of negotiations.

Britain formally triggered the Brexit process on Wednesday, when UK Prime Minister Theresa May sent the Article 50 notification letter to Tusk.

It had called for simultaneous talks on exit terms and future trade ties.

The draft guidelines call for a "phased approach giving priority to an orderly withdrawal".

It suggests starting with discussions on the separation arrangement. They could then move on to talks about a future trade relationship between the EU and the UK.

The guidelines also say the issue of citizens living in each other's countries is a priority, and call for "flexible and imaginative solutions" for the issue of the U.K.'s land border with Ireland.

Speaking at a news conference in Malta on Friday, Tusk said that while the talks would be "difficult, complex and sometimes even confrontational", he hoped all sides would approach them positively.

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

He added that the EU shared the UK's desire for a close partnership.

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

It was also announced that EU Council President will visit British PM before April 29 summit.
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