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From carmakers to cats, all face Brexit disruption, Merkel says

European Commission President Jean Claude Juncker European Commission President Jean Claude Juncker
Ramiro Mantilla | 18 May, 2017, 20:35

Defending his planned phasing of negotiations to start next month - under which talks on trade will not start until other issues are settled - Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier told the European Parliament he wanted to build trust to forge a deal that suits both sides and warned that no deal was a bad option.

In line with negotiator Michel Barnier, most MEPs emphasised the unity between the European Union institutions and the 27 Member States, who are determined to act together to reach a balanced agreement with the United Kingdom.

The EU's chief Brexit negotiator also dismissed suggestions that the United Kingdom will be required to pay up to €100 million (£85bn) as an "exit bill".

Brexit campaigner and former leader of the UK Independence Party (Ukip), Nigel Farage, attempted to hit back by criticising the EU for allegedly leaking information from the dinner meeting between UK prime minister Theresa May and European Commission president Jean-Claude Juncker.

Top EU officials have said Brussels will make papers and memos available, amid fears the bloc is attempting to force Mrs May to reveal her negotiating strategy.

"The figure will depend on the methodology".

President of the European Council, Donald Tusk, said negotiations would take place with a phased approach and that citizens' rights, financial commitments from the United Kingdom and free-trade agreements would be key. "We are in this absurd situation where 85% of the budget is spent through automatic redistribution mechanisms such as the CAP and cohesion funds, and then the functioning of the European Union absorbs a share of what is left so that we are left with only symbolic amounts to channel into real policies".

Mainstream British media said May would pitch immigration strictures and trim certain welfare benefits for pensioners when she unveiled her pledges later Thursday for Britain's snap June 8 election. It is not Mr Barnier who is going to set a figure. Mr. Juncker went further with a comment saying that he would speak French as English is clearly losing its importance in the continent.

The guidelines adopted by the EU-27 last month are the key points the bloc wants to settle with the United Kingdom before moving on to discuss the future relations.

He described a situation in which the details of confidential conversations were "blabbed to an opposition newspaper", adding: "And then a few days later, in a display of extreme petulance, you even deride the national language of the host - which, by the way, is looking a bit silly because last Saturday's extravaganza knowns as the Eurovision Song Contest saw 90% of the songs sung in English. We can't spend two years with this farce".