EU leaders unite, vow to deal with UK PM Theresa May ‘firmly’
:European Union leaders vowed on Saturday to stand shoulder-to-shoulder behind their negotiating team during the divorce proceedings with Britain and warned that demands from British Prime Minister Theresa May will be dealt with “firmly.”
The 27 EU leaders in Brussels finalised the cornerstones of their negotiating stance within four minutes of starting a short smooth summit, a month after the British leader triggered two years of exit talks on March 29.
The negotiations themselves are to open shortly after Britain holds an early election on
“We now have unanimous support from all the 27 member states and the EU institutions, giving us a strong political mandate for these negotiations” under chief negotiator Michel Barnier, EU Council President Donald Tusk said.
Tusk said there can’t be any discussions on the future relationship between the EU and Britain until there has been major headway on key issues.
“We must first achieve sufficient progress on citizens’ rights, finances and the border issue in Ireland. It is too early to speculate on when this might happen,” Tusk said on Saturday.
He said the 27 leaders would unanimously have to say there was “sufficient progress” to allow the talks to go to the next phase.
That would give any EU country with a dispute with Britain, like Spain over Gibraltar, major influence over the timetable of the talks.