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The EU has released draft guidelines on its position on Brexit negotiations.
The document notes that the UK has signalled its intention to leave the Single Market. This means that it will lose tariff-free access to other member states and also will not be bound by the EU's four freedoms, including guaranteeing the Free Movement of Persons.
The EU Council said that negotiations must occur only between the bloc and the UK; there will be no bilateral negotiations between individual member states and the UK.
Indicating that a free trade deal between the UK and the EU could be negotiated within the two-year period provided for under Article 50, it said: "The British Government has indicated that it will not seek to remain in the Single Market, but would like to pursue an ambitious free trade agreement with the European Union. Based on the Union's interests, the European Council stands ready to initiate work towards such an agreement, to be finalized and concluded once the United Kingdom is no longer a member state."
"Any free trade agreement should be balanced, ambitious, and wide-ranging. It cannot, however, amount to participation in the Single Market or parts thereof, as this would undermine its integrity and proper functioning. It must ensure a level playing field in terms of competition and state aid, and must encompass safeguards against unfair competitive advantages through, inter alia, fiscal, social, and environmental dumping."
On the Free Movement of Persons, and in particular concerning the rights of expats in the UK and in EU member states, the Council said: "The right for every EU citizen, and of his or her family members, to live, to work, or to study in any EU member state is a fundamental aspect of the European Union. Along with other rights provided under EU law, it has shaped the lives and choices of millions of people. Agreeing reciprocal guarantees to settle the status and situations at the date of withdrawal of EU and UK citizens, and their families, affected by the United Kingdom's withdrawal from the Union will be a matter of priority for the negotiations. Such guarantees must be enforceable and non-discriminatory."
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