The Malta Independent 18 September 2021, Saturday

EU Council President Tusk presents Brexit negotiation guidelines,'no room for parallel talks'

Gabriel Schembri Friday, 31 March 2017, 10:25 Last update: about 5 years ago

EU Council President Donald Tusk today presented the draft negotiation guidelines for Brexit to the 27 Member States of the EU. He explained that the EU's duty is to minimise the uncertainty and disruption for businesses and families. "We need to think of people first," he added. As long as the UK is still a member, their status is safe, Mr Tusk said.

While addressing a joint press conference with Prime Minister Joseph Muscat, Mr Tusk said that the UK must honour all financial commitments. He also referred to Northern Ireland issue and the fact that the EU will seek creative and flexible solutions for a peace process in the region.

ADVERTISEMENT

These points raised by the EU Council President represent the first phase for the negotiation process which will lead to Brexit. He insisted, however, that parallel and separate talks will not happen.

He explained that whatever comes up in the negotiations, security cooperation with the UK will remain a common interest. "Terrorism remains a common problem between us," he added.

"Talks will be difficult and sometimes confrontational. But there will be no exit fine for the UK. Brexit is already punitive enough."

Prime Minister Joseph Muscat said that the guidelines are constructive, unprecedented for the EU. All previous negotiations before were to have more unity, he said while adding that these guidelines will now be discussed in COREPER level at EU.

Reiterating what Tusk said, there is no room for parallel negotiations. "Once principles are agreed and there is sufficient progress, negotiations on a new phase will be able to start. Imperative to stress that while the EU is showing flexibility, this transition period should be led by EU institutions."

The issue of Northern Ireland is being given serious consideration, Dr Muscat said.

Replying to questions, Mr Tusk said that he does not doubt the unity of the remaining 27 member states. He said that if the UK wants to negotiate, it has to do so with all of the States as a union and not pick up individual states.

"There's no such thing as a Brexit bill or penalty. It's about fairness and commitment. We have to be fair with each other during negotiations."

Dr Muscat said that the EU has to come up with a methodology to see what the UK has to commit financially.  

 

  • don't miss