UK PM Theresa May triggers Brexit process

Brexit What happens after Article 50

Ireland's unique Brexit concerns will be flagged in the EU's draft blueprint for negotiations with Britain, to be circulated on Friday to member states.

But that concession to Theresa May two days after she triggered a two-year countdown to withdrawal was accompanied by elements in the draft that the British prime minister may find less palatable.

European officials suggested enough progress could be made on the divorce arrangements by the end of the year to begin trade talks, although EU leaders will have the final say.

One of the first clashes in early negotiations was over the timing of talks: Britain wanted to discuss the terms of exit in parallel with a conversation on the shape of the future U.K. -EU economic and security relationship. Some 3.3 million European Union citizens now live in Britain and about 1 million Briton live in the rest of the EU.

The European Council President's nine-page document states that there must be "sufficient progress" on withdrawal talks - including a "divorce bill" potentially running as high as £50bn - before negotiations on future relations begin.

In France's Le Parisien newspaper May underlined the importance of "the closest possible security cooperation" after Britain leaves the EU.

"So as not to undercut the position of the Union, there will be no separate negotiations between individual member states and the United Kingdom on matters pertaining to the withdrawal", it said. There is no way around it", Tusk said, "The EU27 [the remaining member states] does not and will not pursue a punitive approach.

He said: "Starting parallel talks on all issues at the same time as suggested by some in the United Kingdom will not happen. There's a lot of good will, willingness to achieve what the prime minister has said she wants to achieve", he said.

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It had called for simultaneous talks on exit terms and future trade ties.

Fourth, we will seek flexible and creative solutions aiming at avoiding a hard border between Northern Ireland and Ireland.

He said: "A big mistake that we could make from both sides is to start with launching threats to each other".

The European Council had meant to publish the guidelines on its website straight away, but the BBC understands that two EU member states objected.

'We already miss you, ' Tusk said.

The EU guidelines make clear there can be no talks on the shape of any future relationship at this stage.

Spain must have a say over whether any deal after Brexit applies to the British territory of Gibraltar, over which London and Madrid have rowed for 300 years, the European Union guidelines said. According to Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty-which launched the official divorce papers between the United Kingdom and the EU-Britain must legally separate within the next two years.

Spanish minister Inigo Mendez de Vigo says "this is an important point in the future negotiations of the United Kingdom's exit from the European Union".

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