European Union draft guidelines soften line on future United Kingdom relationship

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European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker (C) and Maltese Prime Minister Joseph Muscat (R) attend a public dialogue on the future of Europe in Valletta, Malta on March 29, 2017.

A sombre Mr Tusk held up the letter at a Brussels press conference as he sent a farewell message to the UK: "We already miss you".

Tusk said the bloc needed to think of people first.

The House of Lords said in a report published earlier this month that the job of adapting the European Union regulations into British law is complicated by the "scale and complexity of the task", as well the fact that some decisions will be dependent on the result of Britain's negotiations with the EU. He said he hoped that could come as soon as the autumn.

"The phony war is over", said Joe Carberry, co-director of the pro-EU pressure group Open Britain.

"We approach these talks constructively, respectfully and in a spirit of honest cooperation", she said.

"It is only fair towards all those people, communities, scientists, farmers and so on to whom we, all the 28, promised and owe this money", Tusk added.

She said the two sides should "engage with one another constructively and respectfully, in a spirit of honest cooperation".

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In her notification letter on Wednesday, May wrote that "a failure to reach agreement would mean our cooperation in the fight against crime and terrorism would be weakened".

This was interpreted as a threat - something the British government has since denied. Reginald Dale writes that the overriding objective of the other 27 European Union member states is to maintain the renewed unity pledged at the EU's 60th birthday party in Rome on March 25 and keep the European Union steady as it takes arms against a sea of other troubles.

It is even more tumultuous for Britain.

But behind the bald statements, lies a more nuanced approach acknowledging that numerous issues to which the exit treaty must bring legal clarity can not be resolved without some understanding of how trade and other relations between Britain and the European Union will work in the future. Those things have become part of life since the United Kingdom joined what was then called the European Economic Community in 1973. Specifics surrounding exactly how and where Barrow met Tusk, as well as his planned route for getting to the preordained meeting point, were reportedly kept quiet for fear of impassioned Remain campaigners possibly attempting to intercept the letter and disrupt the timing of the agreed plan for this historic event.

They will help set the tone for two years of tough negotiations and efforts to finalise a deal. Scottish voters backed remaining in the European Union in last year's vote, and Sturgeon insists Scotland must not be "taken down a path that we do not want to go down without a choice".

May will officially trigger Article 50 in the letter that will be hand delivered to Tusk at 1:30 p.m. Brussels time on Wednesday, the BBC reported.

The draft guidelines issued today are expected to be amended and approved at a summit in late April. "Starting parallel talks will not happen", he said.

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