Saturday

21st Jul 2018

EU wants Brexit talks to start the day after UK vote

  • Tusk said a trade deal with the UK needs to create a level playing field. (Photo: European Parliament)

The EU's chief Brexit negotiator, Michel Barnier, said on Wednesday (17 May) that negotiations between the EU and the UK should start "as soon as possible, the day after the [UK] elections," which will be held on 8 June.

"We want to conclude a deal with the UK, not against the UK," Barnier told the European Parliament in Strasbourg, adding that there is not much time to conclude a good deal.

Read and decide

Join EUobserver today

Support quality EU news

Get instant access to all articles — and 18 year's of archives. 30 days free trial.

... our join as a group

"We have to create the foundations of ongoing trust, that we need to build the future relationship with the UK," he said, outlining the need for an orderly withdrawal agreement.

"We are going to have to unravel 44 years of integration, […] no one should underestimate any of the consequences, we need to tell the truth to the citizens,” the negotiator stressed.

Also speaking in Strasbourg, European Council president Donald Tusk said EU countries will update the Brexit guidelines once negotiations move beyond the divorce deal with the UK.

"We will make our guidelines more precise when the time comes, namely when sufficient progress in the first phase is achieved," Tusk told MEPs.

The guidelines adopted by the EU-27 last month are the key points the bloc wants to settle with the UK before moving on to discuss the future relations.

EU countries said that "sufficient progress" needs to be achieved on guaranteeing citizens' rights, settling the UK's financial obligations and ensuring that no hard border is established between the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland.

The governments of the 27 member states will decide when to move from divorce negotiations onto trade talks.

Based on the guidelines, EU ministers will adopt the more detailed "negotiating principles" on the key issues next Monday, completing the bloc's Brexit preparations.

Tusk warned on Wednesday that the UK's trade agreement with the EU cannot provide access to the single market.

"It is clear that a free trade agreement between the EU and the UK, which is what the UK has chosen, even if it is ambitious and wide-ranging, cannot mean participation in the single market or its parts," he said.

The European Council chief also emphasised that any future trade agreement must have safeguards.

"The UK must be aware that any free trade agreement will have to ensure a level playing field, and encompass safeguards against unfair competitive advantages through, inter alia, tax, social, environmental and regulatory measures and practices," he warned.

Brexit campaigner and former leader of the UK Independence Party (Ukip), Nigel Farage, attempted to hit back by criticising the EU for allegedly leaking information from the dinner meeting between UK prime minister Theresa May and European Commission president Jean-Claude Juncker.

Juncker reportedly said that May was delusional and lived in a "different galaxy".

"Your attempts to bully the Brits are not working," Farage said, adding that the UK should walk away from the EU before the end of the year.

MEPs also praised what they see as the defeat of populist forces across Europe in elections, such as in the Netherlands and France, since the Brexit vote.

Others warned not to be complacent after the defeat of French far-right leader Marine Le Pen or Dutch anti-immigrant, anti-EU politician Geert Wilders.

"People in Europe have been shocked by the UK's decision to leave the EU. For good reason people are very critical of the EU, but they don’t want to do what the UK did, [they] don’t want to leave the EU," liberal leader Guy Verhofstadt said, urging reform.

Brexit-affected citizens want special deal on rights

Facing two years of uncertainty while Brexit negotiations are underway, EU and UK citizens caught up in the political battle want a separate agreement to secure their rights and future.

EU boasts unity on Brexit talks

EU leaders adopted the bloc's guidelines for the UK exit negotiations that will start in June, amid concerns that France could elect a president that would try to take it out of the EU.

May promises hard Brexit in Tory manifesto

In her party's platform ahead of the 8 June elections, the British prime minister has asked voters to let her negotiate Brexit without guaranteeing a final deal.

May avoids defeat in key Brexit bill

The British prime minister escaped defeat again in parliament, as EU governments question her ability to ratify any Brexit deal by Westminster.

News in Brief

  1. Libyan PM rejects EU migrant camps idea
  2. Italy's Salvini to sue critical anti-mafia writer
  3. EU countries send aircraft to Sweden to help with wildfires
  4. British ex-commissioner's jobs called into question
  5. May to tell EU to drop Irish border 'backstop' idea
  6. Trump threatens EU over Google fine
  7. Spain withdraws arrest warrant for Catalan separatists
  8. EU readies counter-measures on possible US car tariffs

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. IPHRCivil society asks PACE to appoint Rapporteur to probe issue of political prisoners in Azerbaijan
  2. ACCASocial Mobility – How Can We Increase Opportunities Through Training and Education?
  3. Nordic Council of MinistersEnergy Solutions for a Greener Tomorrow
  4. UNICEFWhat Kind of Europe Do Children Want? Unicef & Eurochild Launch Survey on the Europe Kids Want
  5. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic Countries Take a Stand for Climate-Smart Energy Solutions
  6. Mission of China to the EUChina: Work Together for a Better Globalisation
  7. Nordic Council of MinistersNordics Could Be First Carbon-Negative Region in World
  8. European Federation of Allergy and AirwaysLife Is Possible for Patients with Severe Asthma
  9. PKEE - Polish Energy AssociationCommon-Sense Approach Needed for EU Energy Reform
  10. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic Region to Lead in Developing and Rolling Out 5G Network
  11. Mission of China to the EUChina-EU Economic and Trade Relations Enjoy a Bright Future
  12. ACCAEmpowering Businesses to Engage with Sustainable Finance and the SDGs

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Nordic Council of MinistersCooperation in Nordic Electricity Market Considered World Class Model
  2. FIFAGreen Stadiums at the 2018 Fifa World Cup
  3. Mission of China to the EUChina and EU Work Together to Promote Sustainable Development
  4. Counter BalanceEuropean Ombudsman Requests More Lending Transparency from European Investment Bank
  5. FIFARecycling at the FIFA World Cup in Russia
  6. Nordic Council of MinistersOECD Report: Gender Equality Boosts GDP Growth in Nordic Region
  7. Centre Maurits Coppieters“Peace and Reconciliation Is a Process That Takes Decades” Dr. Anthony Soares on #Brexit and Northern Ireland
  8. Mission of China to the EUMEPs Positive on China’s New Measures of Opening Up
  9. Macedonian Human Rights MovementOld White Men are Destroying Macedonia by Romanticizing Greece
  10. Counter BalanceControversial EIB-Backed Project Under Fire at European Parliament
  11. Nordic Council of MinistersIncome Inequality Increasing in Nordic Countries
  12. European Jewish CongressEU Leaders to Cease Contact with Mahmoud Abbas Until He Apologizes for Antisemitic Comments

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us