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EU offers Brexit trade talks, sets tough terms

Friday, March 31, 2017 - 01:40

Talks between the European Union and Britain to negotiate the country's exit will be difficult and sometimes confrontational, EU Council President Donald Tusk said on Friday, adding that there would be no parallel talks on issues outside of that. Scarlett Cvitanovich reports.

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The European Union unveils its Brexit game plan. (SOUNDBITE) (English) EU COUNCIL PRESIDENT, DONALD TUSK, SAYING: "The talks which are about to start will be difficult, complex and sometimes even confrontational." Setting out a negotiation strategy for Britain's two-year withdrawal process from the Brussels club. Proposing a phased approach. Offering trade talks, but not until sufficient progress has been made. (SOUNDBITE) (English) CMC MARKETS ANALYST, MICHAEL HEWSON, SAYING: "They say necessity is the mother of invention and I think this where we'll find out whether or not the will on both sides is there to come to a deal. I certainly think that from part of the UK side it is an optimistic timetable." The EU's opening gambit - talking tough. Particularly around the transition phase after March 2019. It would see Britain essentially keeping parts of EU membership, and receiving entitlements. (SOUNDBITE) (English) ALASTAIR MACDONALD, REUTERS BUREAU CHIEF IN BRUSSELS, SAYING: "What Tusk is making clear is - ok that's fine, but if that happens you will obey all of our rules, you will be subject to our court decisions in Luxembourg and the European Court of Justice, you will have to accept the free movement rules, and you will have to potentially pay into the budget. " All things that prompted Brexiteers to vote leave. On the other hand, the Europeans are willing and open to free trade. BUT won't do it with a Britain tearing up the regulatory rule book around the environment, climate change, labour regulation and tax harmonisation. Tusk will meet the UK Prime Minister Theresa May before an April 29 summit in Brussels. Paving the way for some of the most complex international talks ever undertaken.

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EU offers Brexit trade talks, sets tough terms

Friday, March 31, 2017 - 01:40