President of the European Council Donald Tusk attends a joint press conference in Valletta, Malta, Friday, March 31, 2017. Tusk had 48 hours to respond to the notification of withdrawal.
The European Union said it is willing to discuss a free trade deal with the United Kingdom but it is only going to finalize it once the country has officially left the bloc.
The EU guidelines make clear there can be no talks on the shape of any future relationship at this stage.
The EU has reiterated in its draft guidelines document that there needs to be early guarantee on citizens' rights and on avoiding a hard border between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland.
He added "probably in the autumn, at least I hope so".
Once endorsed by leaders at a summit on 29 April, these will pave the way for talks which the EU's chief negotiator Michel Barnier expects to start in about two months.
"It will entail immediate policy choices as to what European Union law should continue to apply in post-Brexit Britain and, if it should, how it needs to be changed in order to work effectively", James wrote in a briefing paper.
The challenges prior to moving onto the next step of talks are sizable, however.
Muscat underlined that EU's chief Brexit negotiatior Michel Barnier is the only person that the United Kingdom will contact on the issue, while member states will keep having a "normal" relationship with the United Kingdom as long as it remains a member.
But both also tried to defuse the tension over the issue.
Brussels-based economic think tank Bruegel has estimated that the Brexit bill could range from €25.4 billion to €65.1 billion in the long run. Populist voices in Britain have urged the Conservative government not to pay a penny.
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Further complicating things in the full withdrawal negotiations will be Gibraltar, the British overseas territory on the Mediterranean that Spain has wanted back since it ceded it more than three centuries ago.
The 27 member states will demand that the withdrawal agreement include appropriate dispute settlement mechanisms, as well as mechanisms to deal with situations that may arise in future, and are not covered by the exit deal. "We expected robust positions to be taken at the start and let's see where we get to", a spokesman said.
European Union negotiators have indicated that Britain will need to pay around £50bn to cover its outstanding obligations to the bloc.
This week he told a selection of the German press that the UK Government should not expect a "UK rebate" from the European Union in talks over its exit from the bloc, a reference to the budget concessions won in 1984 by then-Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher.
'We already miss you, ' Tusk said.
May repeated that phrase four times in her six-page letter formally triggering Article 50 Wednesday, underscoring the importance that she places on implementing what she called a new "deep and special partnership" before the United Kingdom breaks free from the bloc.
"I know Theresa May well enough and I know her approach to this issue".
Speaking to reporters in Malta, Mr Tusk said the 27 would proceed in a "spirit of co-operation".
"The UK is now on the other side of the negotiating table".
"We really are moving forward now".
"It will then be for elected politicians in this country to make changes in the national interest", the Brexit ministry said.