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Brexit: E.U. outlines “phased” approach for split, trade talks

Mar 31, 2017, 7:55 AM EDT
European Council President Donald Tusk
(Source: European People's Party/flickr)

European Council President Donald Tusk issued a set of guidelines on Friday suggesting Britain must show “sufficient progress” on the Brexit divorce, including settling money and citizens’ rights, before seeking any talks over a future trade relationship. The nine-page draft guidelines, due to be approved by 27 member states, stand open to revisions with a final version to be endorsed by the bloc leaders at a summit on 29 April.

The development comes as an initial hiccup for Britain, which has called for parallel talks on exit terms and future trade ties with the E.U., writes the BBC. Tusk admitted that the Brexit negotiations will be “complex and even confrontational” while assuring that the bloc wouldn’t adopt a punitive approach.

Legally, a trade deal can be signed only after Britain leaves the E.U. but the document says that the E.U. would be prepared for a “no deal” situation also, even though it would undermine the interest of both the sides, reports Reuters.