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EU's Tusk Says Unity Crucial For Positive Outcome Of Brexit Talks

Unity among all EU countries was vital for ensuring a positive outcome of the exit negotiations with the United Kingdom, European Council President Donald Tusk said Wednesday.

"Our unity is the most important condition for the positive outcome of the negotiations," Tusk said in a European Parliament plenary session in Strasbourg.

He was reporting the outcome of the first formal meeting of the European Council of 27 that took place on April 29.

"What was - and remains - most important for me, is that our conduct in these talks will show the European Union at its best: in terms of unity, political solidarity and fairness towards the United Kingdom," Tusk said.

He stressed that the Brexit talks will be conducted on a 'phased approach', meaning that future relations with the UK will be discussed only after sufficient progress is made on ensuring and orderly exit from the European Union.

"Today it is too early to tell much more about our common future, but we will make our guidelines more precise when the time comes, namely when sufficient progress in the first phase is achieved," the top EU official said.

Tusk reiterated that there was the need in the first phase to agree that all financial commitments undertaken by the EU of 28 will also be honoured by the UK.

Further, talks must be aimed to avoid a hard border between the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland, he said.

He also stressed that there will be very little time to conclude withdrawal talks within the framework foreseen by the EU Treaty, which is until March 2019.

European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker said during the session that the proceedings in the Brexit thus far have shown that "how united and prepared the European Union will be".

"This negotiation is now in the hands of our capable divorce lawyers," Juncker added.

by RTT Staff Writer

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