European Union to hold first Brexit summit a month after article 50 notice

The official plan for Brexit is laid out in an official Government document

European Council president Donald Tusk confirmed that he will present draft Brexit guidelines to the remaining 27 member states within 48 hours of notification.

"Guaranteeing their rights as European citizens, in the long term, will be our absolute priority from the very start of the negotiations", he said in a prepared speech.

Talks are expected to begin with the bill that European Union members want to impose on Britain for leaving, the status of European Union nationals in Britain and vice versa, and the border in Northern Ireland, before moving on to a future deal.Britain must negotiate the terms of its departure and a future trade deal by a deadline of March 2019.

Mrs May told ministers the invoking of Article 50 on March 29 would be a "historic event" which will see Britain begin a "bold new chapter as a prosperous, open and global nation", her official spokesman said.

The Prime Minister has also underlined the UK Government's commitment to continued cooperation with other member states against crime and terrorism as part of the future relationship with the EU.

If no trade deal has been reached by this point, it is possible that UK-EU relations will continue to be governed for months or years after official withdrawal by a "transitional arrangement".

"I personally wish the United Kingdom hadn't chosen to leave the European Union but the majority of British voters decided otherwise".

European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker is not anxious about other EU countries following the United Kingdom out of the EU because Brexit will show them "it's not worth leaving".

The meeting will be used to agree the guidelines for the EU's negotiating team headed by Michel Barnier.

Mr. Abe, in Brussels to push an EU-Japan trade deal, urged the EU and Britain to ensure a smooth "transition period".

Brexit Secretary David Davis said the move would initiate "the most important negotiation for this country for a generation", with the Government aiming to secure "a new, positive partnership between the United Kingdom and our friends and allies in the European Union".

Directly addressing suggestions in the UK that no deal would be better than a bad deal, he issued a warning of the "serious consequences" for Britain leaving without agreement: "the reintroduction of binding customs controls, which will inevitably slow down trade and lead to queues of trucks at Dover; serious disruption to air traffic; an overnight suspension in the movement of nuclear materials to the UK", Barnier said.

The EU's former financial services commissioner with close ties to London warned that there could be "total uncertainty" if talks failed, adding, however, that a scenario of "no deal" was not one the EU was entertaining.

For all the talk about Article 50, which U.K. Prime Minister Theresa May will formally trigger to begin exit negotiations next week, Britain's post-Brexit future will be shaped to a far greater extent by another provision of the European Union treaties: Article 218.

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