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Maasikas: EU member states united on Brexit

Matti Maasikas.
Matti Maasikas. Source: (Postimees/Scanpix)

The European Union's members agree on the procedure leading up to negotiations with the United Kingdom. The guidelines and principles, to be adopted this weekend, call for the EU to negotiate as a single party, and state that there will be no chance for the UK to negotiate with single members.

The EU’s General Affairs Council coordinates the meetings of the European Council. In its Thursday meeting, it discussed the draft guidelines and principles for the upcoming Brexit negotiations with the UK. The guidelines will be adopted by the European Council tomorrow Saturday, Apr. 29.

“Estonia supports the adoption of guidelines, we have agreed on the text and it is a strong message to EU citizens that their concerns are taken into account and that we remain united. The guidelines will be updated as appropriate during the negotiations”, Estonia’s deputy minister for EU affairs, Matti Maasikas, said in a press release.

Maasikas affirmed that the guidelines were well-balanced, in the interests of the member states, and that they covered all important aspects, such as the rights of citizens, a single financial settlement, the unique circumstances of Ireland, on-going legal and administrative proceedings, and a mechanism to resolve future disputes arising from the UK’s leaving the EU.

Maasikas said that a mutual recognition of the rights of citizens and companies needed to be achieved, as well as a financial settlement. The remaining 27 members of the union agreed on that.

The guidelines stipulate that the EU negotiates as one, and that there will be no separate negotiations for the UK about any one sector or with any one member state.

Estonia and other member states think it best that the negotiations be held in two stages. According to Maasikas, “At the first stage we have to reach an agreement on the main components of the withdrawal agreement, and once this succeeds it is time to start preparatory discussions on the future relationship between the EU and the UK. We would like to have good and close relations with the UK in the future, e.g. in the areas of economy, security, and foreign policy.”

After the guidelines are adopted by the European Council on 29 April, the European Commission will present draft negotiating directives on May 3 that will then have to be adopted by the General Affairs Council on May 22.

Editor: Dario Cavegn

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