EU-UK Trade Talks to Start Only After Brexit Bill Settled - Luxembourg's FM

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According to Luxembourg's foreign minister, the European Union should begin trade talks with the United Kingdom after the Brexit bill is ready.

MOSCOW (Sputnik) — The European Union sees the issue of settling the Brexit bill as a priority before moving on to discuss other issues of Brexit with the United Kingdom, including the financial ones, Luxembourg Foreign Minister Jean Asselborn said on Monday.

"In this matter, it is clear that if we get stuck on the finance issue, we will not be able to move on to the Phase Two, and the Phase Two is about what should come after between the European Union and the United Kingdom. It is extremely important for tens of thousands of workers in the European Union and in the United Kingdom," Asselborn said upon his arrival to the Geneva Affairs Council on Article 50 in Brussels.

He said that the first phrase would hopefully be dealt with before the mandate of the current European Parliament expires in 2019, with the United Kingdom set to leave the bloc in March 2019.

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The United Kingdom officially began the withdrawal process in March, with Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty stating that the country has two years to complete the negotiations on the terms of its withdrawal. UK Prime Minister Theresa May has previously expressed desire to reach an agreement on free trade with the European Union despite ruling out the possibility of remaining part of the EU single market.

Earlier in May, media reported that the European Union had increased the demands of UK financial obligations up to almost $109 billion, which is almost twice as much as the initial $64 billion announced by European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker in March.

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