Burning Bridges With U.K. Not in EU’s Interest, Romania Says

Updated on
  • Minister says Romania to fine-tune stance after Brexit details
  • Citizens’ rights, EU budget funding among nation’s priorities

Four Finance Ministers Talk Brexit in 75 Seconds

The European Union and the U.K. shouldn’t erect walls or hold back cooperation because of Brexit as future partnership is vital to both parties, Romania’s EU affairs minister said.

With U.K. Prime Minister Theresa May ready to officially start the process to leave the bloc on March 29, Romania -- which has one of the largest communities currently living in Britain -- has defined three key priorities for negotiations, Ana Birchall said in an interview in Bucharest. They are: protecting the rights of Europeans in the U.K., limiting the impact of Brexit on the EU budget and curbing its effect on the EU’s global role, she said Wednesday.

“We’re waiting for the guidelines from the European Council president but our final stance in these negotiations will be calibrated after we evaluate the concrete demands and the elements the U.K. will present in its official notification to exit the EU,” Birchall said.

EU officials have urged the bloc to prepare for the possibility of the U.K. walking out of Brexit talks without a deal. EU negotiator Michel Barnier told a meeting of EU commissioners in Brussels on Wednesday that the bloc should ready itself for talks failing, according to two people familiar with the private discussion. Barnier noted some Conservative politicians in the U.K. are already trying to undermine efforts to find common ground.

Birchall said she started talks with both EU and British officials on ways to defend the rights of about 200,000 Romanians living in the U.K.

“The set of guidelines for the negotiations should reflect the support for the four freedoms, the integrity of the single market and the lack of discrimination between EU citizens and those in U.K.,” she said.

(Updates with minister’s comments in last paragraph.)
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