BRUSSELS – The latest on the European Union summit dealing with the Brexit negotiations (all times local)
Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte says that as soon as there is sufficient trust between the EU nations and Britain on core issues like citizen's rights, the divorce bill and the Irish border, both sides can proceed to discuss future relations.
Rutte, who stressed the importance of Britain to the Dutch economy, says that "as you get to a certain level, as far as possible, and say now we are confident about this, then we have to swiftly start talking about the future relationships — trade and also politics."
Rutte says it "is in the Dutch interest to have good agreements on the divorce proceedings but also about future relations."
Rutte said he was confident the 27 would start the two-year negotiations standing shoulder to shoulder. He says: "We have to show unity, and I have the impression that we will succeed."
EU Council President Donald Tusk says that Britain will face a united bloc of 27 EU nations in the two years of divorce negotiations and said the welfare of citizens and families living in each other's nations will be the priority once the talks start.
The 27 EU leaders are meeting to finalize the cornerstones of their negotiating stance after British Prime Minister Theresa May triggered the exit talks on March 29. The negotiations themselves are to start shortly after snap elections in Britain on June 8.
Tusk said Saturday that all sides "need solid guarantees for all citizens and their families who will be affected by Brexit on both sides. This must be the No. 1 priority."