Brexit: Donald Tusk says EU-27 must remain united

Brexit: Donald Tusk says EU-27 must remain united

The EU 27 will call for action to avoid a "hard border" between the Republic of Ireland and the British province of Northern Ireland, amid fears that Brexit could undermine the peace process.

It took just one minute for the 27 leaders including the Taoiseach to reach the unanimous agreement.

Those include how much Britain owes the bloc, what to do about the Irish land border with Britain and, Tusk said, making sure the welfare of citizens and families living in each other's nations will be a priority.

However, the United Kingdom government has said made clear that it want talks on trade relations to run in parallel with the separation negotiations. "We need a good timing so that we can talk of our future relations".

"I know this is something unique, but I am confident that it will not change".

"This must be the number one priority", Mr Tusk said.

Britain swiftly warned that the talks could be "confrontational".

May's administration has shown a willingness to give ground on key matters involving finance, trade and immigration.

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Brussels is concerned about the British government's state of preparation for enormously complicated negotiations and over the degree of understanding in London of what kind of compromises it will have to make to clinch any kind of deal.

"Maybe the British government will do its utmost to split the 27 nations".

European Union negotiators do not expect agreement on the size of Britain's divorce bill by then, but hope the two sides can agree on a methodology for calculating it. Ms May declined to say on Sunday if Britain would make a payment to the European Union before it leaves.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel, repeating a comment she made after Juncker's meeting with May, said she was still anxious by "illusions" in Britain about the Brexit talks.

European Union leaders have agreed their joint negotiating strategy ahead of Brexit talks with the UK.

French President Francois Hollande meanwhile praised their common position and said there would "inevitably be a price and a cost for Britain". "May has been saying that people are lining up against Britain".

The remaining 27 European Union states have unanimously agreed their strategy for Brexit talks.

"We must not be punitive, but at the same time it's clear that Europe knows how to defend its interests, and that Britain, the United Kingdom, will have a less good position tomorrow outside the EU than today in the EU", Hollande said according to the BBC.

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Over the past years, the bloc has often been bitterly divided over issues like the financial crisis and how to deal with hundreds of thousands of migrants entering the bloc.

During the summit, it is understood that a commitment will be given that if Northern Ireland ever breaks away from the UK, the united Ireland would become an automatic member of the EU.

Kenny stressed that such a referendum was not in sight at this stage.

"So", he added with a smile of understatement, "it won't all be as calm and as measured as today".

EU Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker already complained Saturday that "Britain now blocks the decision-making" on a review of the EU's long-term budget.

European Commission head Jean-Claude Juncker said May had repeatedly urged him to be "patient" when they had dinner in London this week, but said Britain now needed to get serious on the issue. "We have unanimity among the 27 and unanimity in the three institutions", he said.

Saturday's adoption of the guidelines was followed by "a general round of applause", Merkel noted.

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