European Parliament President Antonio Tajani said on March 9 that the European Union and Britain should first strike a deal on the terms of Brexit before discussing future bilateral relations.
“Before we need to decide the Brexit, and then we will work for a good agreement between us and the UK,” Tajani, an Italian conservative, told a news conference in Brussels after briefing EU leaders at a summit on the parliament’s views about current issues.
As reported by the Reuters news agency, Tajani, a close ally of former Italian prime minister Silvio Berlusconi, was elected European Parliament president in January for two and a half years with the backing of British Conservative MEPs. It’s a mandate that may help him to play a key role in the two-year Brexit talks.
Tajani said the European Parliament wants to be a “protagonist” during the talks and would have officials briefing him from the EU negotiating team led by Frenchman Michel Barnier.
The European Parliament will agree its negotiating position after Britain triggers the Brexit talks, Tajani said.
“The UK in the future will be an important, one of the most important, interlocutors of the EU,” he said, noting that being outside the EU was however not the same as being a member.