Updated | EU leaders agree on Brexit negotiating stance

EU leaders take less than 15 minutes to approve draft Brexit negotiating guidelines 

The EU is expected to insist on progress in talks over the UK's exit from the union
The EU is expected to insist on progress in talks over the UK's exit from the union

European Union leaders have unanimously agreed on the negotiating guidelines for the upcoming Brexit talks with UK.

The 27 leaders took less than 15 minutes to approve the draft guidelines for the negotiations, that were issued on 31 March by European Council President Donald Tusk.

Tusk, who chaired the talks in Brussels, said in a tweet that the “firm and fair political mandate” for the talks was ready.

Talks with the UK will begin after the general election on 8 June.

In a letter to the leaders of the EU-27 ahead of the Brussels summit, Tusk wrote that progress on "people, money and Ireland" must come before negotiations on the EU's future relationship with the UK.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel reiterated that only once substantial progress had been made on the separation talks with the UK, could negotiations turn to the future relationship between the EU and the UK.

The separation talks will seek to agree the rights of EU citizens living in the UK, as well as Britons living in the EU, plus a settlement for the UK's financial obligations as an EU member state. A deal must also be agreed to avoid a hard border between the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland, Tusk wrote.

Outgoing French President Francois Hollande said there would inevitably be "a price and a cost for the UK - it's the choice that was made".

"We must not be punitive, but at the same time it's clear that Europe knows how to defend its interests, and that Britain the UK will have a less good position tomorrow outside the EU than today in the EU,” he said.

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