United Kingdom security ties to European Union no 'bargaining chip', says Johnson

Brexit Day saw the FTSE make early gains

Donald Tusk, president of the European Council will present draft guidelines for the British withdrawal to the 27 member states in Malta, Friday.

On Wednesday, the Prime Minister set out her priorities for Brexit talks in a letter which triggered Article 50, in which she said divorce talks and free trade talks should take place at the same time.

The position marks a compromise between Britain's call for parallel divorce and trade talks and the insistence of some European Union leaders that trade discussions can begin only after Brexit.

In his draft guidelines, Tusk proposed that if the 27 leaders saw "sufficient progress" towards a withdrawal treaty then negotiations on a future trading relationship could start.

Donald Tusk, the president of the European council, has insisted the EU will not be "punitive" in its approach to "confrontational" Brexit talks, warning that "Brexit is punitive enough".

Brussels has estimated that Britain might owe it something of the order of €60 billion (S$90 billion) on departure, although it says the actual sum can not be calculated until it actually leaves. Discussing divorce terms in parallel with a future trade agreement, as the United Kingdom proposed, "will not happen", Tusk said.

Cameron's successor Mrs May on Wednesday notified the European Council president Donald Tusk that the United Kingdom was triggering article 50. "There's a lot of good will, willingness to achieve what the prime minister has said she wants to achieve", he said.

In a foreword to the paper, Prime Minister Theresa May said the bill would "provide maximum certainty as we leave the EU", allowing businesses, public officials and individuals to plan for the future while Brexit negotiations are ongoing. Talks should not only be about the terms of Britain's exit but also about future ties, he insisted.

The draft negotiating guidelines will set the tone for two years of tough talks to come.

A Government spokesman said: "It is clear both sides wish to approach these talks constructively, and as the Prime Minister said this week, wish to ensure a deep and special partnership between the United Kingdom and the European Union". Two member states did not want the letter to be made public, Sky reports.

He added that "the EU-27 does not and will not pursue a punitive approach" because "Brexit in itself is already punitive enough".

It appears that the European leaders have no intention of letting Britain get away easily during the Brexit negotiations.

"In view of the unique circumstances on the island of Ireland, flexible and imaginative solutions will be required, including with the aim of avoiding a hard border, while respecting the integrity of the Union legal order", the document said.

Britain should not expect a "UK rebate" from the European Union in talks over its exit from the bloc, Germany's foreign minister said Thursday, in reference to a budget discount won by then-PM Margaret Thatcher.

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