Friday, 28 April, 2017

European Union to convene summit on April 29 to approve guidelines on Brexit

EnlargeLeon Neal  AFP  Getty Images EnlargeLeon Neal AFP Getty Images
Juana Turner | 30 March, 2017, 01:00

The European Commission's Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier has said they must be wrapped up by October 2018 to give the EU and national parliaments time to ratify the deal.

Britain is one of the oldest and largest members of the 28-nation bloc, and its departure has raised fears for the European Union s future as eurosceptic movements gain support across the continent.

In Brussels itself, the news was delivered by the UK's new ambassador, Tim Barron, who informed Council President Donald Tusk this morning.

The prime minister has long said she would start the Article 50 process by the end of this month. Only if Barnier brings the EU27 a satisfactory result on that front, officials say, will leaders consider broadening his mandate to include a future trade deal or other partnership agreement.

May, during a speech in Wales on Monday, stressed that she was committed to securing the right deal for Britain as part of what is commonly known as Brexit.

However, Downing Street reportedly declined to comment on whether the letter would contain any details of negotiations, although May is expected to make a Commons statement on the same day.

But economists and government officials have warned that Britain's exit is likely to be turbulent, and some within the prime minister's ruling Conservative Party have pushed for her to call an early election this spring.

The British government has said it wants to negotiate a new trade deal while the talks are going on, but Barnier said a free trade agreement would be negotiated "when the time comes". Sky News reported last week than the Lords report said: "The UK's long-term prosperity after Brexit relies on safeguarding UK-EU trade in goods". We expect it will be a two-year process and we are confident that is what we will achieve.

"May now moves on to what promises to be a hideously complex process of disentangling Britain from more than four decades of European integration, and there are concerns that it will be impossible to complete the negotiations within two years".

Scottish voters backed remaining in the European Union by 62 percent to 38 percent in the Brexit vote last June, compared to the final result for the whole of Britain of 52 percent to 48 percent.

BRUSSELS-Once Britain decides to trigger divorce proceedings next week, the 27 other European Union nations will be taking a month to decide on the negotiating framework to achieve the best-possible split-up for the bloc.

"The sooner we reach a deal on an orderly withdrawal, the sooner we can prepare for the future relationship", Barnier said, adding that leaving hard divorce issues until the last moment was playing with failure.

May s plan to withdraw Britain from Europe s single market has also provoked concern in Northern Ireland, by raising the prospect of the return of customs posts with European Union member Ireland to the south.

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