May demands simultaneous Brexit, trade talks, rejecting EU position

LONDON: Discussions about Britain’s future trade relationship with the European Union must take place at the same time as Brexit negotiations, British Prime Minister Theresa May said in a televised interview on Sunday.
This puts her at loggerheads with the EU’s negotiating position,after leaders of the 27 countries that would remain in the bloc after Brexit agreed on Saturday that progress must be achieved on major sticking points — such as citizens’ rights and a financial settlement — before the two sides can discuss trade.
Speaking on the BBC’s “Andrew Marr Show,” May acknowledged that the “EU leaders do want to start discussions about money,” referring to aso-called divorce bill expected to be imposed by Brussels. It is unclear what the sum will be for Britain to settle its obligations, with some estimates as high as £50 billion.
However, May added that “at the end of the negotiations, we need to be clear not just about the Brexit arrangement… but also what our future relationship is going to be.”
The Conservative leader told Marr that there are issues that both sides “absolutely agree” should be addressed early on, such as the status of EU citizens living in Britain and British citizens living in the EU.
The other EU leaders said on Saturday that issue was also important to them.
Sunday’s interview was May’s first major television appearance since she called a snap election less than two weeks ago. The actual Brexit negotiations will commence after June 8, when the election is to take place. — DPA