No talks on free-trade until ?52bn Brexit bill is settled, EU tells Britain

No talks on free-trade until ?52bn Brexit bill is settled, EU tells Britain

The European Union is willing to hold trade talks before Brexit but only if there is “significant progress” on the ‘divorce’ negotiations, including its outstanding bills being settled, draft EU guidelines released on Friday show.

The EU says if there is enough progress made on the terms of the divorce in the first phase of talks, then negotiations can move to a second phase where a trade deal can be discussed.

“The European Council will monitor progress closely and determine when sufficient progress has been achieved to allow negotiations to proceed to the next phase on a future relationship.”

The rights of EU citizens living in Britain and UK citizens in Europe will be among the first topics up for discussion under the divorce talks. Also up for discussion is the amount owed under a Brexit divorce bill, which has been put at £52 billion (US$64.8 billion) owed by Britain.

The draft also says the UK must accept EU rules, including budget contributions and judicial oversight in a transition period likely to follow Britain’s departure in 2019 and before a free-trade pact can be finalized.

Setting out the guidelines, Tusk said it was “only fair” that the UK should honor the financial promises it made as part of the 28-member bloc. He said there would be “no punitive approach, Brexit is punitive enough.”

If Britain remains part of the EU single market for a time after Brexit, it would also have to respect all “four freedoms,” the document says, which would mean accepting free immigration from the continent.

Tusk warned Prime Minister Theresa May she was not to try to pick off countries separately to negotiate in a divide-and-rule approach and should negotiate “only with the 27 as a unit.”

The document may be revised over the next month before being endorsed by the leaders at a summit on April 29.

Britain formally triggered the Brexit process on Wednesday. It had called for simultaneous talks on exit terms and future trade ties.

Following May’s letter to the EU, she was accused of attempting to “blackmail” the EU by warning that if the UK is forced to leave without an agreement, future cooperation on tackling terrorism and crime would be “weakened.”

The European Parliament’s chief Brexit negotiator Guy Verhofstadt told Sky News the warning amounted to a “threat” and was unacceptable.

“A big mistake that we could make from both sides is to start with launching threats at each other. It doesn’t work like that - you cannot use, or abuse, I should say, the security of citizens to have a good deal on something else,” he said.



Add Comment

all comments

  Other news

more
Trading resumes at fire-hit Blochairn market

Trading resumes at fire-hit Blochairn market..

17-Aug, 21:40

Trading has resumed at one of Scotland's most important wholesale...

Boyzone's Ronan Keating and wife Storm celebrate their two year wedding anniversary with hilarious photo – after welcoming first child together

Boyzone's Ronan Keating and wife Storm celebrate their two year wedding anniversary with..

18-Aug, 14:10

Ronan posed with one arm in a superman stance while clutching baby Cooper...

Barcelona Attack: Celebrities including Camilla Thurlow, Cristiano Ronaldo and Jennifer Lopez pay tribute following the tragic Spain terror attack

Barcelona Attack: Celebrities including Camilla Thurlow, Cristiano Ronaldo and Jennifer Lopez..

18-Aug, 03:40

Armed police swooped on the Las Ramblas boulevard after the white van...

Coleen Rooney expecting baby number four! See her sweet pregnancy announcement

Coleen Rooney expecting baby number four! See her sweet pregnancy announcement..

18-Aug, 07:00

So Happy!!! Never denied the news, but I was always protecting it!! Had...

Venezuela confirms 4 more deaths in anti-government protests

Venezuela confirms 4 more deaths in anti-government protests..

01-Jul, 19:37

Venezuelan authorities say at least four people were killed and eight...

Trumps attend Steve Mnuchin's wedding, officiated by Mike Pence

Trumps attend Steve Mnuchin's wedding, officiated by Mike Pence..

25-Jun, 04:27

President Donald Trump, first lady Melania Trump and several Cabinet...

US Homeland Security Secretary Kelly vows 'no mass deportations,' no use of US military in immigration enforcement

US Homeland Security Secretary Kelly vows 'no mass deportations,' no use of US military in..

23-Feb, 14:12

US Homeland Security Secretary Kelly vows 'no mass deportations,' no use...

For some Californians, effects of punishing drought not over

For some Californians, effects of punishing drought not over..

15-Apr, 11:48

Knee-high tufts of grass dot the streets of Hardwick, a rural...