EU leaders agree on guidelines for Brexit talks

European Union leaders have unanimously agreed the negotiating guidelines for Brexit talks with UK.

European Council President Donald Tusk, chairing the talks in Brussels, tweeted that the firm and fair political mandate for the talks was ready.

The 27 leaders took less 15 minutes to approve the draft guidelines for the negotiations, which were issued on 31 March by Mr Tusk.

Talks with the UK will begin after the general election on 8 June.

Early, European Council President Donald Tusk had said that the 27 European Union countries meeting in Brussels to discuss Brexit must remain united.

Mr Tusk said he had strong support from all the EU institutions as well as the 27 remaining states.

The UK is not taking part in the talks.

The EU will insist that progress must be made in talks on separating the UK from the EU before any discussions can begin about future trade relations.

Official talks between London and the EU will not begin until after the UK general election on 8 June.

Arriving for the talks on Saturday morning, Mr Tusk told reporters: “We need to remain united as EU-27. It is only then that we will be able to conclude the negotiations, which means that our unity is also in the UK’s interest.”

In an earlier letter to leaders of the EU-27, he wrote that progress on “people, money and Ireland” must come before negotiations on the EU’s future relationship with the UK.

The UK government has said it does not want to delay talks on future trade relations.