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EU Draft Guidelines Soften Line on Future UK Relationship

The guidelines also say the issue of citizens living in each other's countries is a priority

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    EU Draft Guidelines Soften Line on Future UK Relationship
    YVES HERMAN/AFP/Getty Images
    Britain's ambassador to the EU Tim Barrow (L) delivers British Prime Minister Theresa May's formal notice of the UK's intention to leave the bloc under Article 50 of the EU's Lisbon Treaty to European Council President Donald Tusk in Brussels on March 29, 2017.

    The European Union softened its line on Britain's exit from the bloc Friday, with Council President Donald Tusk signaling some flexibility on allowing talks on a new relationship before the divorce proceedings are complete.

    In the draft guidelines obtained by the Associated Press, it says that the EU and Britain must first "settle the disentanglement" of Britain from the EU but added that "an overall understanding on the framework for the future relationship could be identified during the second phase of the negotiations under Article 50."

    The guidelines also say the issue of citizens living in each other's countries is a priority, and call for "flexible and imaginative solutions" for the issue of the U.K.'s land border with Ireland.

    Tusk also ruled out the suggestion that there was an inherent threat in British Prime Minister Theresa May's departure letter, which some felt hinted at a link between sharing security information and getting a good deal.

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    "I know Theresa May well enough and I know her approach to this issue. This is why I rule out this kind of interpretation ... that security cooperation is used as a bargaining chip. It must be a misunderstanding."