Published: Sun, March 26, 2017
Economy | By Melissa Porter

European Union to hold first Brexit summit on April 29

The House of Lords committee reiterated its warning that London needed to secure a transitional trading arrangement with the European Union in case their talks on Brexit terms took longer than two years, in order to prevent a regulatory cliff-edge.

The issue of an exit bill will be one the early priorities in negotiations as some EU figures, including European Commission chief negotiator Michel Barnier, have suggested the United Kingdom must settle its outstanding liabilities before talks on a new relationship can begin. "Our watchword will be 'Citizens First, '" Barnier assured committee members.Residency rights, access to the labor market and education, and pension and social security programs would need to be settled.Barnier said that the United Kingdom would need to pay its share for any program negotiated while the United Kingdom was part of the EU."Let me be clear", said Barnier.

Michel Barnier used a speech to outline his priorities for handling the divorce - with the process set to be formally started on 29 March when Theresa May triggers Article 50 of the Lisbon treaty to confirm the UK's intentions. Britain hasn't ruled out paying, but is expected to contest the bill.

The timing of the European Union leaders' summit means substantive negotiations will not begin until at least May, giving the PM just 17 months to get a deal, according to Mr Barnier's timetable.

Guaranteeing long-term rights of Europeans in Britain after Brexit is EU's "absolute priority" from the onset of talks.

Referring to issues such as residency rights, access to the labour market, pension or social security rights, and access to education, Barnier continued: "We will work methodically on each of these points".

"It will take time, several months certainly", he added. "We can and we should agree - as soon as possible - on the principles of continuity, reciprocity and non-discrimination so as not to leave these citizens in a situation of uncertainty".

"We will not ask the British to pay a single euro for something they have not agreed to as a member", he is quoted by Reuters as saying.

"Why would we offer nice deals for Ukraine and Turkey and not to Britain?"

"In view of what was announced in London yesterday, I would like to inform you that I will call a European Council on Saturday the 29th of April to adopt the guidelines for the Brexit talks", Mr. Tusk said in Brussels.

He said the trade agreement would have to take into account social, fiscal, environmental and consumer protection standards of the European Union and be ratified by all European Union parliaments.

"The sooner we reach a deal on an orderly withdrawal, the sooner we can prepare for the future relationship", he said today.

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