Theresa May woos European press on Brexit deal

“You can not abuse the security of citizens to have then a good deal on something else”.

“This is a moment to unite”, European Commission head Jean-Claude Juncker said on Wednesday, hours after Britain formally started procedures to end its 44-year membership of the EU. “That process starts now”, Secretary of State for Exiting the European Union David Davis said in a statement.

Scotland’s parliament on Tuesday voted to call a fresh referendum on independence from Britain in a bid to hold on to European Union ties.

“Let me be absolutely clear: existing workers’ legal rights will continue to be guaranteed in law and they will be guaranteed as long as I am prime minister”, May said last October.

European Parliament President Antonio Tajani told journalists Wednesday the parliament’s main task is to defend the rights of citizens.

“The European Council will monitor progress closely and determine when sufficient progress has been achieved to allow negotiations to proceed to the next phase” on a future relationship”, the draft guidelines say.

In her letter, May repeated that the vote for Brexit was not meant to harm the EU, and said she wanted a “new deep and special relationship with a strong European Union”.

However, the British PM, along with discussing Brexit negotiations, also wants to hold talks about the UK’s future trading relationship with the European Union within the two-year period.

Nine months after Britons voted to leave, May notified EU Council President Donald Tusk through a hand-delivered letter that the United Kingdom is quitting the bloc under Article 50 of the EU’s Lisbon Treaty.

The German Chancellor, hours after May triggered Article 50 on Wednesday, had said that Britain could negotiate its future relationship with the European Union only after it liberates itself from its existing European Union commitments.

The government says these powers will only be used to deal with EU-related gaps in the law, not to make substantive policy changes.

The EU’s chief Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier revealed Britain could face a £50million departure bill and the bloc would not negotiate further until the figure is finalised.

Nicolas Hatton, a Frenchman with a British wife who leads a grassroots campaign for European Union expatriates, said he wanted a deal “so that we can get on with our lives”.

“What the prime minister was saying was that if we have no deal, and we want a deal, it’s bad for both of us”, he told the BBC Radio 4.

The tussle over security overshadowed the British government’s attempt to strike a conciliatory tone with the EU.

Labour’s Yvette Cooper also hit out at the Tory leader and urged her to rule out walking away without an agreement on the issue.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel, Mr Tusk and European Commission president Jean-Claude Juncker said the United Kingdom would remain a “close and committed ally”. “We must consider it to be a new beginning, something that is stronger, something that is better”. Future governments will then be able to “amend, repeal and improve any law it chooses”, subject to global treaty obligations, May has said.

“We think that’s a smart way to do it, because everybody then can make a judgement as to what’s a good outcome for everybody – what the balance of outcomes are”.

EU draft guidelines soften line on future UK relationship