Britain must settle 'people, money and Ireland' first — EU President's letter

Ireland is expected to ask the 27 European Union leaders to endorse the idea when they meet in Brussels without Britain to adopt guidelines for Brexit negotiations

Ireland is expected to ask the 27 European Union leaders to endorse the idea when they meet in Brussels without Britain to adopt guidelines for Brexit negotiations

A draft of Brexit negotiating positions set for approval by the 27-nation bloc Saturday seen by The Guardian says "the European Council acknowledges that, in accordance with worldwide law" a unified Ireland would become "part of the European Union".

It came after leaders of the other 27 European Union countries agreed their joint negotiating position ahead of Brexit talks to begin after the UK's June 8 General Election, and after Mr Juncker and Mr Barnier met the Prime Minister in Downing Street earlier this week.

European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker who, along with the EU's chief Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier, met with May in London on Wednesday, explained to the British prime minister that it's essential to come to a swift agreement on an orderly exit, commission spokesman Margaritis Schinas told reporters in Brussels on Thursday.

Ahead of the summit, Germany's Angela Merkel warned Britain it should have no "illusions" that it will keep European Union privileges, hardening the tone ahead against London.

After the EU's negotiating guidelines are approved on Saturday, the European Commission will prepare them in a clear mandate so they can be deployed after the Britain forms a new government following its snap general election June 8.

European Council President Donald Tusk said Europe should aim to avoid a "hard border" between the Republic of Ireland, which will remain in the EU after Brexit, and Northern Ireland, which leaves as part of the UK.

"We must first achieve sufficient progress on citizens' rights, finances and the border issue in Ireland".

The intervention prompted Prime Minister Theresa May to complain the European Union was ganging up on Britain.

The guidelines countered British hopes to have future trade relations running in synch all through the talks. There can be no discussions on any future relationship without real progress on this aspect of the UK's withdrawal. "We will handle it with genuine care, but firmly", Tusk said before the meeting.

"Maybe the British government will do its utmost to split the 27 nations".

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When East and West Germany united, the East automatically became part of the EU. In contrast, citizens in Britain have been divided because of the momentous event looming.

The EU says the key issues are the fate of three million EU citizens living in Britain and one million Britons resident in the EU as well as Britain's exit bill estimated at around €60 billion (RM281.4 million).

As we know, the mechanism for a border poll is enshrined in the Good Friday Agreement and there is no sense that we are close to this matter being put to the test in the near future.

To kick off the negotiations, Tusk wants to center on the millions of people living on each other's side who would be immediately affected.

"We need to secure the best guarantees for our citizens and their families", the former Polish prime minister said.

The source said, "This affects the lives of millions of people so, yes, this issue is a top priority".

"These are legally solid arguments", one said, noting for example a demand Britain not only lose the EMA and EBA but also pay the moving costs.

Over the past years, the bloc has often been bitterly divided over issues like the financial crisis and how to deal with hundreds of thousands of migrants entering the bloc. The two share the same island, and the difficulties of re-establishing a land border are vast and politically fraught.

The issue has forced a discussion on the future status of Northern Ireland: The Good Friday Agreement stipulates that if polls show support for a referendum on unification, then the United Kingdom government must offer one.

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