European Council President, Donald Tusk, has today outlined the EU’s Brexit strategy in the issuance of “draft guidelines” which will be sent to all 27 EU Member States for approval. The guidelines confirm that the EU will pursue a “phased approach giving priority to an orderly withdrawal”. Mr Tusk told reporters at a news conference that the UK’s suggestion for parallel talks on all issues to occur “will not happen”, and instead only once the UK has achieved “sufficient progress on the withdrawal can we discuss the framework for our future relationship”.
The guidelines provide that the first phase of negotiations will “settle the disentanglement of the United Kingdom from the Union and from all of the rights and obligations the United Kingdom derives from commitments undertaken as Member State” and “provide as much clarity and legal certainty as possible to citizens, businesses, stakeholders and international partners” on the immediate effects of the UK’s withdrawal from the EU. The guidelines also refer to a “single financial settlement” which should ensure the EU and UK both respect the “obligations undertaken before the date of withdrawal”, including “all legal and budgetary commitments as well as liabilities, including contingent liabilities”. The statement confirms the EU’s intention to charge a “divorce bill” for the UK to leave the EU.