Britain Must Settle 'Divorce Bill' Before Trade Talks — EU Parliament

Britain Must Settle 'Divorce Bill' Before Trade Talks — EU Parliament

Theresa May has told the European council president, Donald Tusk, that the sovereignty of Gibraltar is not up for negotiation in the Brexit talks.

It raises the prospect of Britain having no control over its borders until 2022, as European Union leaders have suggested a three-year transition period will be necessary after Brexit.

Mr Barnier wants a draft deal by October next year so that national leaders will have time to approve it before a ratification by the European Parliament, most likely in early 2019.

The European Union will conduct Brexit negotiations with the United Kingdom with an aim to mitigate the human, economic and political uncertainties of the event as much as possible, and parallel talks on exit and future relations are not possible, European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker said Wednesday.

Mr Barnier - who was chastised by Ulster Unionist MEP Jim Nicholson for "twiddling" on his phone as Mr Nicholson spoke - also said that Britain must stop pressing for immediate parallel talks with the European Union on a post-Brexit free trade deal.

The guidelines to be voted on Wednesday already have the support of not only the EPP but also of the Socialists and Democrats alliance, as well as the ALDE liberals, the Greens and the leftist parliamentary group GUE.

"Gibraltar is clearly a deal breaker", Farage said.

Downing Street said they had also discussed the agenda for the next European Council meeting because Britain remained a "full and engaged member" of the bloc.

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The Brexit talks are expected to start in late May once the negotiating guidelines of the 27 member nations have been sealed in a mandate for Mr Barnier.

The spokesman said May told Tusk that Britain would seek the best possible Brexit deal for Gibraltar, its internally self-governing territory attached to the south coast of Spain.

But no reference to Gibraltar was contained in the adopted resolution.

The move caused fury in Gibraltar - which accused the European Union of "bullying" - while former Conservative Party leader Lord Howard even suggested Mrs May could go to war to defend the Rock.

"You are behaving like the mafia, you think we're a hostage".

Several MEPs jeered Farage over the comments, and Tajani, who is from Italy, called his mafia remarks "unacceptable".

Mr Farage responded by saying: "I do understand, sir, Mr President".

"It's common sense, it's pragmatic for people, it's pragmatic for businesses, and I believe that's what we will be working for and it's what both sides will be working for".

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