World Bulletin / News Desk
There is no point in the European Union having “destructive negotiations” with the U.K. over Brexit, Italian Prime Minister Paolo Gentiloni said Thursday.
The Italian premier made the remarks at a joint press conference with British Prime Minister Theresa May in London, where he was paying an official visit.
Gentiloni said the “negotiations will not be easy and the Italian attitude is to show a constructive and friendly approach” in the Brexit talks.
He said he wanted to ensure the rights of Italian citizens in the U.K. and Britons in Italy.
Addressing the same issue, May said she has consistently said she wants and expects to be able to guarantee those rights but as prime minister she must get assurances for Britons living in other EU countries.
Both premiers also spoke on the migration crisis.
May said mass population movements could be shaped during Italy’s G7 presidency and welcomed a deal signed last week by Italy and Libya to strengthen border security, mentioning that 180,000 people arrived in Italy last year via the Mediterranean.
The meeting between the Italian and British prime ministers came one day after the House of Commons passed a bill empowering May to officially start the EU exit negotiations.
The legislation was presented to parliament following a U.K. Supreme Court decision which said the government must seek lawmakers’ approval before proceeding with Brexit.
British voters decided to leave the 28-member bloc in a referendum held last June. May has insisted she will trigger Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty -- the formal process of leaving the EU -- by the end of this March.