European leaders to formally reject Theresa May's Brexit timetable

"At the same time, the PM is right to spell out her vision of a Britain outside the single market - and outside the European Union legal order - but able none the less to continue the trading relationship that is so important for businesses and consumers both sides of the Channel".

Negotiations will also soon hit a major contraction: Britain wants "frictionless" free trade, but says it will restore control of immigration, ending the right of European Union citizens to live and work in Britain.

Britain formally triggered the Brexit process on the 29th of May.

A six-page letter, signed by Mrs May, was hand-delivered to President of the European Council Donald Tusk in his Brussels office yesterday, just minutes before she made a statement to MPs on her plans.

"Once and only once we have achieved sufficient progress on the withdrawal can we discuss the framework for our future relationship".

"These are draft guidelines and we look forward to beginning negotiations once they have been formally agreed by the 27 member states", a United Kingdom government spokesman said Friday.

Asked about his promise that the UK's trade deal would provide the "exact same benefits" as membership of the single market, Mr Davis said: "I make no apology for being ambitious about what we are trying to do".

The Article 50 provision governing withdrawal states that the negotiations must "take into account" the future relationship along with the withdrawal arrangements, he said.

Tusk is presenting the EU's draft negotiating guidelines to leaders of the remaining 27 member states Friday.

But he held out the hope that talks could move on to future trade relations within a matter of months.

And when it comes to the U.K.'s land border in Ireland, which is key to the Northern Ireland peace process, Tusk's draft guideline says that "flexible and imaginative solutions will be required".

The two-year time limit can be extended with the unanimous consent of both the United Kingdom government and the European Council, which consists of the leader of each of the 27 member states remaining within the EU post-Brexit.

She echoed the EU's own language in acknowledging there could be "no cherry-picking" to retain the best bits of European Union membership.

The government is publishing details Thursday of a Great Repeal Bill that would put existing European Union laws into British statute so that "the same rules will apply after exit day" as before. Germany said it was "well-prepared" for the talks.

Downing Street said the Prime Minister had made a series of calls to European leaders, including Mr Hollande, and claimed they had welcomed her "constructive" approach.

The official said that "even with the best of efforts, it will not be possible to negotiate all those details" in two years.

Maltese Prime Minister Joseph Muscat and European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker shared their views on Brexit in a public dialogue on the future of Europe held in Valletta on Wednesday.

"I know Theresa May well enough I know her approach to this issue, this is why I rule out this kind of interoperation and speculation that security cooperation is used as a bargaining chip".

  • Angelo Rivera