Tusk has pledged to make talks as 'least painful' for the EU
Tusk, who met Japanese leader Shinzo Abe in Brussels yesterday, claimed the remaining 27 EU nations will hold a special summit on April 29 to agree a joint position ahead of two-year talks with Britain.
The Brussels chief pledged to make Britain’s “divorce” from the bloc was the “least painful” for Brussels.
Brexit: Results of how the UK voted Mon, March 20, 2017
Much of the North East of the United Kingdom voted to leave the European Union including Sunderland, Gateshead, Darlington, Durham, Hartlepool, Middlesbrough, Stockton, Redcar and Cleveland, North Tyneside and South Tyneside, and Northumberland
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GREAT YARMOUTH: The town of Great Yarmouth on the East Coast of England voted by 72% to leave the European Union.
Our main priority for the negotiations must be to create as much certainty and clarity as possible
The EU leader said: “Our main priority for the negotiations must be to create as much certainty and clarity as possible for all citizens, companies and member states negatively affected by Brexit.”
Theresa May is set to trigger Article 50 on March 29, with Tusk then planning to publish a draft response to Britain within 48 hours of the UK’s formal notice to leave the EU.
French financial minister Michel Sapin was happy talks would finally be starting, saying: “At last. We’ve been waiting for the negotiations to get started since Brexit was voted.”
Donald Tusk met with Shinzo Abe yesterday
Tusk is expected to set out “guidelines” which all EU nations will follow in negotiations, which Michel Barnier will lead for the Brussels bloc.
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EU states are worried Marine Le Pen will be able to use the meeting as a political weapon if the EU convenes on April 29 – which would be between the first round of voting on April 23 and May 7.
A staunch critic of the EU, Le Pen has blasted the Brussels bloc throughout her presidential campaign and europhiles are concerned it will feed into her narrative that Europe does not listen to the will of France.
Before any talks on more complex issues can begin, such as the rights of EU nationals living in Britain or vice versa, Mrs May must come to a loose agreement with Brussels regarding any potential payment of a Brexit Bill.
Liam Fox has advocated free trade deals for Britain
Some estimates put the Bill at an eye-watering £60billion – with part of that sum touted as going towards helping to pay eurocrats’ pensions.
Senior EU figures have been warned by Liam Fox that a bad Brexit deal would be “self-defeating” for EU states.
The Secretary of State for International Trade said: “The UK may have voted to leave the EU, but we will never leave Europe. Our partners across the continent will remain among our closest friends and allies in commerce, security and many other ways.
“We want to realise a new relationship with Europe, based on free trade and prosperity."