David Davis, UK Secretary of State for Exiting the European Union, and Minister of State at the Department for Exiting the European Union David Jones are holding meetings with politicians from Sweden, Finland, Denmark, Latvia and Estonia ahead of the start of official Brexit negotiations.
“Any attempts by UK ministers to divide EU countries will only slow down and complicate negotiations… The EU will negotiate as a united bloc,” Verhofstadt told the newspaper.
Manfred Weber, the head of the European People’s Party (EPP) Group, the biggest group in the European Parliament, added that “if you split up Europe into different interests it will not be easy to get unanimity at the European council.”
On Sunday, it was reported that Downing Street officials and senior cabinet ministers had proposed a plan to divert part of the government’s 12 billion pound ($14.9 billion) aid budget to eastern European countries, including Poland, Hungary and the Baltic States. According to the Sunday Times, the suggested measure has been criticized as illegal by the Department for International Development (DfID), as the countries do not qualify for overseas development spending.
The United Kingdom held a referendum last June, deciding to leave the European Union. The government is expected to trigger the Article 50 of the EU Lisbon Treaty by the end of March, thus beginning withdrawal negotiations.
In January’s 12-point Brexit plan, the UK government said it would not seek to stay in the EU single market but would pursue a post-Brexit free trade deal with the bloc. The government also made plans to boost international trade with partners outside Europe.