"Phased approach": How to read EU Brexit guidelines

Andrew Cummings
April 12, 2017

British foreign secretary Boris Johnson, in Brussels as North Atlantic Treaty Organisation ministers met U.S. secretary of state Rex Tillerson, said London was committed to European security and that it was "not some bargaining chip" in the Brexit talks.

The proposals will be sent to the governments of 27 European Union members and will help set the tone for two years of tough negotiations and efforts to finalise a deal, the report added.

The row came as some of the EU's top leaders gathered to flesh out their strategy for the hard talks ahead as the bloc reels from the blow of one of its biggest members becoming the first ever state to start withdrawal from the 60-year-old union. He said there would be "no punitive approach, Brexit is punitive enough".

Prime Minister Joseph Muscat said that the guidelines are constructive, unprecedented for the EU.

In the letter sent to UK government and the other 27 member states, Tusk reiterates that discussions over a long-term UK-EU trade deal could begin once "sufficient progress" has been made with settling the terms of Britain's exit.

The draft guidelines obtained by AFP called for a "phased approach" that prioritises an orderly withdrawal that reduces the disruption caused by Britain's departure in March 2019.

"Starting parallel talks on all issues at the same time as suggested by some in the United Kingdom will not happen", the former Polish premier said.

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

The official, speaking in Brussels on Friday, said European Union leaders should adopt the final mandate to begin the negotiations shortly after May 22, after Britain formally triggered the process this week.

The former Belgian Prime Minister went on to say that the United Kingdom was being "very naive" to think that both an exit and a new trade deal can be conducted in the timetable available.

"It doesn't work like that - you can not use, or abuse, I should say, the security of citizens to have then a good deal on something else".

That will also bring up the question of the jurisdiction of the European Court of Justice, and whether Britain will consent to be bound by future ECJ rulings on disputes over the acquired rights of EU citizens that might arise in the future.

"The U.K.is now on the other side of the other side of the table", Tusk said, adding that the EU's role is to "minimize the uncertainty" that Brexit has created for businesses and citizens.

"I do not expect we'll bargain with security topics because it's in our common, in our mutual interest to exchange information if it's necessary", she told BBC2's Newsnight.

The island nation's decision to leave the bloc has been repeatedly criticized by Scottish politicians, including First Minister of Scotland Nicola Sturgeon who claim that the outcome of the vote neglected Edinburgh's will to stay in the European Union.

The hand-delivered letter marked the start of the two-year countdown to Britain's exit from the EU.

She said that both sides "are faced with the same global threats of terrorism and extremism".

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