UK negotiator denies govt is blackmailing EU on security

The British prime minister wrote in articles published in several European newspapers on Thursday that she believed that the divorce talks should take place while simultaneously negotiating Britain's inclusion in fresh trade deals with the bloc during the post-Brexit era.

The President said that this process had already begun with the relocation of UK-based companies over to his country, although he stressed that France had no intention of "punishing" the British people.

According to The Guardian, a Downing Street spokesperson said that the approach by Merkel and Hollande is a negotiating tactic. The European Parliament said on Wednesday that Brexit could be reversed with the consent of the remaining EU members.

If the guidelines are adopted, the talks are certain to be hard, with both sides already in disagreement on issues from the sequence of the talks to the conditions Britain would have to accept to secure a post-Brexit transitional deal.

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The white paper was published one day after May formally notified Brussels of Britain's intention to leave the European Union, in a letter triggering two years of Brexit negotiations.

The U.K. government on Wednesday officially began the process of leaving the European Union, more than nine months after the electorate voted for Brexit.

The guidelines will be a framework for the talks led by the European Union and British negotiators and are due to be endorsed by the 27 remaining member states at a summit in late April. Also looming large is the so-called "exit bill" Britain will have to pay, estimated to be as much as €60 billion (S$89.6 billion), and the border between Northern Ireland and Ireland.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel, Mr Tusk and European Commission president Jean-Claude Juncker said the United Kingdom would remain a "close and committed ally".

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The EU's roadmap on Brexit negotiations leaves the United Kingdom and Spain to discuss what agreements will apply to Gibraltar, a British overseas territory on the edge of Spain that Spain has wanted back since it ceded it more than three centuries ago.

"To achieve this, we believe it is necessary to agree the terms of our future partnership alongside those of our withdrawal from the EU".

Scotland's government meanwhile made a formal request to London for a second vote on Scottish independence, given that a majority of Scots also voted to stay in the EU. If lawmakers rejected it, Britain would have no choice but to leave the European Union anyway, without any trade deal with the bloc.

Businesses big and small are unsure how they will trade across the new EU-U.K. frontier and some three million European Union expatriates in Britain and a million or so British expatriates are unsure of their residence rights.

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