EU tells Britain: 'We won't be intimidated'

Indo Asian News Service

Strasbourg (France), March 15 (IANS) Britain should stop threatening the European Union ahead of the Brexit negotiations, a top EU official warned on Wednesday.

Donald Tusk, President of the European Council, said the EU would not be "intimidated" by threats from Britain that it would prefer to walk away from Brexit talks if it did not get its way, reported CNN.

British Prime Minister Theresa May is expected to trigger Article 50 by the end of this month. That would allow formal negotiations to begin between the British government and the 27-member states on the terms of Britain's exit from the EU.

"It is our wish to make this process constructive, and conducted in an orderly manner," Tusk said in a statement to the European Parliament.

"However, the claims, increasingly taking the form of threats, that no agreement will be good for the UK, and bad for the EU, need to be addressed. I want to be clear that a 'no deal scenario' would be bad for everyone, but above all for the UK, because it would leave a number of issues unresolved."

"We will not be intimidated by threats, and I can assure you they simply will not work. Our goal is to have a smooth divorce and a good framework for the future. And it is good to know that Prime Minister Theresa May shares this view," he said.

The bill that allows the British government to trigger Article 50 is expected to receive royal assent and become enshrined in British law on Thursday.

Tusk said he hoped Britain and the EU would be "close friends in the future", Efe news reported.

"I will do everything in my power to make sure that UK, EU are close friends after Brexit and stress that EU's door will always remain open," he said.

Tusk and European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker also defended the idea of a "multi-speed Europe," which has been opposed by some eastern European nations, including Poland.

A multi-speed EU would have different members integrating at different paces and to different levels, depending on individual political situations.

--IANS

soni/vt