BRUSSELS (Reuters) – The European Union is negotiating the terms of Britain’s exit from the bloc in good faith and is not working on a scenario where there is no agreement on the separation, the chairman of EU leaders Donald Tusk said on Tuesday.
Britain is keen to start negotiating as quickly as possible the terms of its future relationship with the EU, including a transition period, after it leaves the bloc in March 2019.
But the EU does not want to start such negotiating until London and Brussels agree the terms of the divorce – citizen’s rights, border issues in Northern Ireland and, crucially, how much money Britain owes the EU.
“We hear from London that the UK government is preparing for a “no deal” scenario. I would like to say very clearly that the EU is not working on such a scenario,” European Council President Tusk said in a speech in Brussels.
“We are negotiating in good faith, and we still hope that the so-called ‘sufficient progress’ will be possible by December. However, if it turns out that the talks continue at a slow pace, and that sufficient progress hasn’t been reached, then – together with our UK friends – we will have to think about where we are heading,” he said.
(Reporting By Jan Strupczewski and Alastair Macdonald)