European Union governments toughened their plans for the Brexit negotiations in a sign U.K. Prime Minister Theresa May won’t get an easier ride even if she strengthens her hold on power in the upcoming election.
With the EU finalizing its position to take into the talks, diplomats revised the bloc’s draft negotiating guidelines, adding harder language on issues including the safeguarding of citizens rights and Britain’s potential financial dues, according to a document obtained by Bloomberg News.
“The main priority, main concern for the EU is to secure citizens’ rights on both sides,” EU chief Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier told journalists on Thursday in Warsaw, where he addressed Polish lawmakers. “We will begin talks right after the elections.”
While May said the surprise election she has called for June 8 should silence critics and strengthen her hand when she haggles with the EU, the rest of the bloc has given little indication that it’s ready to walk back from its initial hard-line positions.
European governments remain insistent the U.K. can have no membership of the single market if it limits immigration, and Britain must agree to meet its financial obligations before discussions on a future trade deal can begin.
The latest negotiation draft, drawn up after a meeting of national leaders’ aides in Brussels on April 11, ramps up language on the type of agreement the EU wants when it comes to protecting the rights of EU citizens in the U.K. and British citizens in the EU at the time Britain leaves the bloc.
The guarantees need to be “comprehensive, effective, enforceable and non-discriminatory,” the draft says, and people should be able to prove their status through “smooth and simple administrative procedures.”
The document contained more detail about the composition of the “Brexit bill” that the EU wants the U.K. to pay that’s estimated to run to around 60 billion euros ($64.6 billion). It said the U.K. should resolve issues related to institutions including the European Central Bank.
A separate negotiating document, drafted by the European Commission, says the EU will also demand the U.K. pays all the costs related to Brexit itself, such as the relocation of agencies, with the sum to be paid in euros, according to Politico.
The bill isn’t about punishing the U.K. and the EU “won’t ask for a pound or euro more” than the amount Britain has already committed, Barnier said in Warsaw.
The draft also adds new language on security, in an apparent rebuff to May’s linking of continued cooperation on the issue to getting a trade deal. Any agreement will have to “address potential issues arising from the withdrawal in other areas of cooperation, including security,” the document said.
The revised text also clarified that any transition would include recognizing the region’s “judiciary,” while an earlier reference to an…