EU legislators tell UK on Brexit: no parallel talks

EU legislators tell UK on Brexit: no parallel talks

BRUSSELS — European Union lawmakers on Wednesday passed a resolution calling for phased negotiations in divorce proceedings with Britain, going against the wishes of London, which would like exit talks and discussions of a future trade arrangement to happen in parallel.

The lawmakers voted 516-133 for the resolution, with 50 abstentions, highlighting the tough task ahead for British Prime Minister Theresa May as she enters two years of negotiations with 27 EU nations.

EU chief negotiator Michel Barnier called parallel talks on Britain’s exit from the EU and a future trade relationship “a very risky approach” that he is bent on avoiding.

Barnier told EU legislators in Strasbourg, France, that “to succeed, we need on the contrary to devote the first phase of negotiations exclusively to reaching agreement on the principle of the exit.”

May last week sought hand-in-hand negotiations on exit and a future relationship, while the EU Council president and EU top legislators argued against it.

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 Barnier.

Britain insisted again, though, that it wanted to move on to discuss the future as soon as possible.

“The best interests of both sides of this negotiation will be served by getting on to the technical discussion about the future relationship as quickly as possible in the two years that we have available,” said junior Brexit Minister Robin Walker.

Both sides have a general agreement that they want to tackle the fate of the 3 million EU citizens in Britain and some 1 million Britons residing in the other EU nations first of all.

“I really welcome the fact that the parliament and the (EU) Council have set that out as a first priority from the EU perspective as well,” Walker said.

The parliament’s Brexit co-ordinator, Guy Verhofstadt, said it was perhaps best that there was never much positive passion in the cross-Channel relationship. “It never was a love affair,” he said, instead calling it “a marriage of convenience.”

Raf Casert, The Associated Press

Just Posted

VIDEO: Rubbing shoulders with country stars a dream for aspiring young Langley singer

One day soon, maybe, 10-year-old Mackenzie Hurtubise will sing at the Basics for Babies fundraiser.

Giants back in Langley hoping to continue winning streak

The G-Men defeated Royals in Victoria Saturday, the second triumph of the week over the same team.

PHOTOS: Langley City parents given relief from holiday chaos

A Timms Community Centre event Saturday offered a variety of activities for young children.

Langley’s assistant lacrosse captain tallies up five goals in Calgary loss

Stealth fell to Roughnecks, but hoping for comeback on Dec. 29 in New England.

LETTER: Not too late to protect the character of Brookswood

With election year coming, a letter writer suggests council be held accountable for re-development.

VIDEO: Recovering addict shares art and story to motivate others

A Langley City man spends time each day painting in McBurney Plaza.

Update: RCMP arrest domestic assault suspect west of Kamloops.

The RCMP Emergency Response Team made the arrest at around 4:30 p.m.

Owl found dead after eating rat poison leaves B.C. woman concerned

After finding the owl on her Surrey property, Christine Trozzo says the poison is a concern for kids

Change to CPP death benefit panned as insufficient to cover funeral costs

Funeral Services Association of Canada lobbied governments to raise the value to $3,580

B.C. woman brain injured in crash as a baby gets $1.1 million in damages

Trial heard the woman was 16 months old, being carried by her mother when they were both hit

Family Christmas fun at Aldergrove’s Loft Country farm

The Loft Country children’s horse camp in Aldergrove is celebrating Christmas in a new way this year

Court denies WestJet’s bid to toss out discrimination lawsuit of former worker

Mandalena Lewis is suing WestJet over allegations of gender-based discrimination

VIDEO: 3 months later, rescued sea lion released back into ocean

The young animal was found in Campbell River three months ago

Sagmoen neighbours recall alleged hammer attack

Woman was screaming outside Maple Ridge townhouse in 2013

Most Read