EU Council President to issue negotiation guidelines

European Council President Donald Tusk is due to issue draft guidelines on how the EU intends to negotiate the UK's departure from the bloc

31 March 2017, 8:16am
European Council President Donald Tusk will send leaders of the other 27 member states his proposed negotiating guidelines for Brexit talks
European Council President Donald Tusk will send leaders of the other 27 member states his proposed negotiating guidelines for Brexit talks
European Council President Donald Tusk will send leaders of the other 27 member states his proposed negotiating guidelines for Brexit talks before presenting the main principles in Malta two days after British Prime Minister Theresa May formally triggered the two-year withdrawal process.

Tusk will speak around 9:45am, alongside Malta’s Prime Minister Joseph Muscat whose government holds the bloc's rotating presidency. Shortly beforehand, EU envoys from the 27 governments will meet in Brussels to study the draft guidelines.

Once endorsed by leaders at a summit on 29 April, these will pave the way for talks which the EU's chief negotiator Michel Barnier expects to start in about two months.

EU leaders have said the UK must first agree its exit terms before talks can move on to future ties, while London is calling for simultaneous talks.

In December, the leaders agreed: "In the future, we hope to have the UK as a close partner of the EU."

After May wrote to Tusk on Wednesday to confirm Britain's departure, they issued a statement saying: "The Union will act as one and preserve its interests. Our first priority will be to minimise the uncertainty caused by the decision of the United Kingdom for our citizens, businesses and member states."

Barnier has said tackling uncertainties in trade and in the situation of expatriates will be his top priority, along with ensuring Britain pays what Brussels argues it owes as a share of commitments made by the EU but not yet funded. May says Britain will fulfill its obligations.