Wednesday, March 29, 2017 05.48PM / The Guardian
The six pages starting Britain’s exit from the EU and handed over by the UK’s EU ambassador, Sir Tim Barrow, set seven key principles for Britain as it entered the talks, including:
1. To engage “constructively and respectfully, in a spirit of sincere cooperation”.
2. To put “citizens first”, indicating an early desire to strike a deal for EU citizens in Britain and British people on the continent.
3. To work towards a comprehensive trade agreement, and with deep cooperation on security.
4. To minimise disruption and give as much certainty as possible.
5. To maintain the common travel area between the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland with no return to the borders of the past.
May was heckled when she declared that she would fight for the “liberal, democratic values of Europe” and insisted that the UK was not leaving Europe and would remain a “close friend and ally”.
The letter to Donald Tusk
The prime minister stressed her desire to strengthen the “union of the four nations” of the UK in comments that led to a response from SNP MPs. She said the government would negotiate for all parts of the country, arguing that the devolved administrations would have more powers after Brexit.
May said her government accepted repeated warnings from European leaders that Britain could not “cherrypick” during EU negotiations – and that was why it would not remain a full member of the single market.
She urged her European counterparts to help secure a “bold and ambitious free trade agreement” as she promised to approach the talks “constructively, respectfully, and in a spirit of sincere cooperation”. May stressed a number of times that she wanted a “new deep and special partnership” with the rest of the EU.
She made clear that, in her eyes, there was now no way to stop Brexit, adding that her government was acting on the “democratic will of the British people”.
“This is an historic moment from which there can be no turning back. Britain is leaving the European Union. We are going to make our own decisions and our own laws. We are going to take control of the things that matter most to us. And we are going to take this opportunity to build a stronger, fairer Britain – a country that our children and grandchildren are proud to call home.”
She said that security in Europe was more fragile than at any time since the cold war, warning that any weakening of cooperation would be a “costly mistake”.
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