Protecting peace process is 'paramount' in Brexit talks


The draft will be sent to the 27 member states for approval. "Brexit in itself is already punitive enough".

British Prime Minister Theresa May had in her letter triggering the two-year exit process on Wednesday called for talks on the divorce and a future deal to run in parallel as soon as negotiations start.

He also referred to Northern Ireland issue and the fact that the European Union will seek creative and flexible solutions for a peace process in the region.

Mr Verhofstadt said the European Union was not in the mood to "punish or take revenge" on Britain - but he warned the 27 remaining nations could not allow the United Kingdom to be better off outside the bloc. "It would leave a massive black hole in our domestic legal system", said Kieran Laird, head of constitutional affairs at law firm Gowley WLG.

"I don't understand that because it wouldn't be in the interest of the United Kingdom because we're all facing the same security challenges", she said. WSJ's Jason Douglas explores the decisions, deals and conflicts that could arise.

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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.

Tusk will give a press conference in Malta with Maltese Prime Minister Joseph Muscat, whose country holds the EU's rotating presidency, to discuss the strategy at 0745 GMT.

Britain delivered the withdrawal letter Wednesday to EU Council President Donald Tusk in Brussels.

Earlier, Brexit Secretary David Davis told Sky News Mrs May was not using security as "a bargaining chip".

European Union president Donald Tusk's draft guidelines say the other 27 countries are ready for a transitional deal after Britain's exit in March 2019, but that such an arrangement would have to be under European Union rules.

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They have been circulated to the 27 remaining member states, who are expected to agree them at an extraordinary summit on April 29, allowing negotiations to begin in earnest.

Before the talks can even get under way, the government outlined plans for the daunting task of bringing some 19,000 items of European Union regulation into British law on the day that Britain leaves the EU.

Tusk said the EU's goal was to minimise the costs for European Union citizens, businesses and member states, whose leaders should adopt the negotiating proposals on April 29.

It has been speculated that exit negotiations will continue for around two years.

David Davis told the BBC that Prime Minister Theresa May's letter triggering talks on Britain's departure made clear it wants to continue to work with the European Union on a range of issues, including security, for both sides. On Friday, the finance minister, Wolfgang Schaeuble, told a newspaper in the country that, while both sides should strive to minimize the damage, "there are no rights without obligations" and that Britain would have to leave the single market if it refused to abide by the EU's principles. Britons previous year voted 52 percent to 48 percent in favour of Brexit, leaving the country bitterly divided with tens of thousands of pro-EU protesters marching in London on Saturday.

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