European Union president to discuss Brexit talks 'way ahead' with Theresa May

Cheryl Sanders
April 8, 2017

Members of the European Parliament (MEPs) have said that the United Kingdom would breach EU law if it negotiates trade agreements with third countries before it formally leaves the Union.

Theresa May and Donald Tusk, the European Council President, have agreed to "lower tensions" over Gibraltar after a diplomatic row broke out about the territory's future status.

Mr Tusk tweeted: "Meeting PM May to make sure Brexit talks get off to good start".

They held their first meeting since she triggered Article 50, beginning the formal process of Brexit, and he responded by setting out the EU's likely approach to talks.

The talks came after Mr Tusk suggested last week that Spain - which also claims sovereignty of Gibraltar - could veto its inclusion in any trade deal between Britain and the remaining European Union member states.

"They agreed to stay in regular contact throughout the Brexit process to keep a constructive approach and seek to lower tensions that may arise, also when talks on some issues like Gibraltar inevitably will become hard", one source said.

Mr Tusk explained his draft Brexit guidelines that are due to be adopted by the European Council on 29 April and oulined the next steps of the Brexit process as seen from the EU27.

An EU official said Tusk and May had a "good and friendly" meeting lasting almost two hours at the British leader's Downing Street official residence.

There will be no negotiation on Gibraltar's sovereignty without the consent of its people, Theresa May has told Donald Tusk.

The move caused fury in Gibraltar - which accused the European Union of "bullying" - while former Conservative Party leader Lord Howard even suggested Mrs May could go to war to defend the Rock.

Earlier this week while on a visit to Jordan, Mrs May said she expected the shape of a new trade relationship to be clear to everybody by Brexit Day in March 2019.

Brussels has said it would only begin talks on future trade agreements with Britain once "sufficient progress" had been made in the negotiations.

Zypries's comments reflect confidence within German Chancellor Angela Merkel's government that the fallout of the U.K.'s departure can be limited and that talks on the divorce terms must precede any post-Brexit trade deal.

Other reports by iNewsToday