EU Council President Donald Tusk says there will be no parallel talks on Britain's exit and future relations with the European Union.
Tusk made these remarks at a joint press conference with Maltese Prime Minister Joseph Muscat in Valletta, capital of Malta, on the draft negotiation guidelines for Brexit. In Germany, government spokesman Steffen Seibert said "we will hopefully come to this second step soon".
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. However, Europe would not adopt a punitive approach as "Brexit in itself is already punitive enough".
The EU is keen to stress its unity as it faces the wrenching departure of one of its biggest members, the first time a country has left the bloc in its 60-year history.
His guidelines - which are expected to be formally adopted at an European Union summit at the end of April - are expected to endorse the position of France and Germany that trade talks must wait until the separation has been agreed.
"Starting parallel talks on all issues at the same time, as suggested by some in the United Kingdom, will not be happen".
"But we need to settle their status and situations after the withdrawal with reciprocal, enforceable and non-discriminatory guarantees", he said.
"Following today's comments by Donald Tusk, it is indicative that the existing period of uncertainty will continue to hover over businesses on the future of the U.K.'s trading relationship with the European Union", said Sarosh Zailwalla, founder of Zaiwalla & Co solicitors in London.
In a referendum centered on uncontrolled immigration and national self-determination, Great Britain made a decision to leave the European Union on June 23, 2016, the first EU member state to ever do so. The president of the European Parliament said what Britain owes must be finalized before trade deals could be discussed.
He added: "The talks which are about to start will be hard, complex and even confrontational".
He also insisted that Britain's commitment to European defense and security is "unconditional" and "not some bargaining chip in any negotiations" over Brexit.
Tusk added he was sure that a "wise and decent" Britain would not do so.
This image shows French President Francois Hollande (R) talking to British Prime Minister Theresa May at an European Union summit in Malta in February 2017.
Downing Street denied that it was attempting to use Britain's intelligence-gathering capabilities - regarded as the strongest in the European Union - as a lever in the negotiations.
In her letter to Tusk formally giving notice to leave on Wednesday, May on several occasions said the talks on a new trade deal could happen while the exit negotiations happened.