World Bulletin / News Desk
EU ministers are set Monday to give Frenchman Michel Barnier the European mandate to negotiate Britain's exit from the bloc, which he expects to start in earnest in mid-June following British elections.
Ministers from the remaining 27 EU member states are set to meet in Brussels at 0900 GMT to give Barnier, a former European commissioner and French minister, his negotiating directives.
The directives are based on guidelines adopted after just a few minutes of debate at an April 29 summit in Brussels, which EU officials called a rare and remarkable show of unity.
"We expect also a quick process," an EU diplomat told reporters when asked if the ministers would act as quickly on Monday as their leaders did last month.
The directives aim to shape the first phase of negotiations that are set to last two years, even if some EU officials suspect the timeline is too ambitious.
They deal with the rights of EU citizens in Britain and British citizens on the continent, as well as London's exit bill and arrangements for the border in Northern Ireland.
EU leaders have agreed "sufficient progress" must be made on these three points before a new trade relationship can be struck.
That approach is opposed by Britain, which wants them to be discussed in parallel.
British Prime Minister Theresa May, who triggered the divorce process on March 29, said "the next five years will be among the most challenging in our lifetime" as Britain tries to untangle itself from four decades of EU membership.
Last Mod: 22 Mayıs 2017, 09:54