European Union leaders agree Brexit negotiating guidelines -Tusk

European Council President Donald Tusk speaks with the media as he arrives for an EU summit at the Europa building in Brussels on Saturday, April 29, 2017.

In a mark of how last year's Brexit vote has called into question the unity of the United Kingdom itself, leaders will also offer Irish Prime Minister Enda Kenny a pledge that if Northern Ireland, which voted against Brexit, ever unites with his country, it will automatically be in the EU.

And while British Prime Minister Theresa May dined with EU Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker on Wednesday in a bid to warm ties before talks start, David Davis, the minister responsible for Brexit, said negotiations would be hard.

European Union leaders have agreed their joint negotiating strategy ahead of Brexit talks with the UK.

The negotiating stance of the 27 is expected to state clearly that economic benefits for Great Britain can not possibly remain as favorable after its exit.

EU President Donald Tusk insisted Britain would also benefit if unity boosted the chances of a deal, after May accused the other 27 countries of ganging up on London.

This puts the European Union on a collision course with No 10, as Mrs May has said she wants to negotiate a new trade deal at the same time.

"Our unity is also in the U.K.'s interest", he said.

The negotiating guidelines also halted British hopes of having future trade relations being discussed concurrently through the talks.

Michel said: "Maybe the British government will do its utmost to split the 27 nations and it is trap we need to avoid".

Denmark, which will exit Europol on May 1, inked a new deal with the EU's police agency allowing it to exchange operational data and deploy liaison officers. "We've made it easier for Britain, by speaking with one voice", she said.

Drafts of the EU's priorities for the opening of the talks have been circulating in European capitals for the past month since the British government triggered the article 50 mechanism, formally giving notice of their intention to leave the EU.

But a majority of people in Northern Ireland voted to remain in the European Union during the referendum last June that led to Britain's departure, the first time a country has ever left the EU.

"We think that that is logical and fair and we welcome the fact that European leaders have said that now out loud".

The EU's chief Brexit negotiator, Michel Barnier, said the bloc had a "clear line" on the talks.

"There is always a price, a cost, a effect from quitting the Union", Hollande said at his farewell European summit.

"You are aware that Ireland has prepared assiduously and very well for this over the last 18 months and our priorities are reflected in the document from the European Parliament and from the European Council", he said.

He said: "We can see with the Brexit affair, there is no more protection, no more guarantees, no more internal market".

The elections are "an internal problem she wants to resolve in the Conservative party, to have not a hard Brexit or a soft Brexit, but Theresa's Brexit", said Luxembourg's prime minister Xavier Bettel. The negotiations themselves are to start shortly after snap elections in Britain on June 8.

Tusk said Europeans needed "solid guarantees for citizens and their families, who will be affected by Brexit on both sides - this must be number-one priority for EU and the United Kingdom".

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