>> Winning the prize of free trade with the European Union, even as it negotiates leaving the block and it's single market. That's been the focus of Prime Minister Theresa May's government, since she set out her Brexit vision last week. But in Brussels, EU officials are shaking their heads, telling Reuters parting cannot be so easy or so amicable.
May wants a free trade deal within two years, the amount of time she'll have to negotiate leaving.>> Many EU officials believe that talking about a free trade agreement now is putting the cart before the horse. Because before any free trade agreement can be negotiated, first the EU would like to agree on an orderly exit on the terms of the divorce with Britain.
And that of course implies settling a lot of issues that will fill up the two years, even without even tempting to negotiate a free trade agreement.>>
>> May insists she prefers no deal to a bad deal. Most in Brussels dismiss that as bluster, but they are concerned the UK could try to walk out without paying its debts, some 60 billion Euros that it has committed to spend.
>> As in most divorce cases, the most difficult question is likely to be money. And to that potential British obstruction on payments, that EU has the argument of, unless you pay, and unless we have an orderly divorce, we will not start negotiations on a free trade agreement.>> The UK government on Thursday publishing the law that parliament must pass to trigger Brexit.
Its opening move, in what looks to be a drawn out game of tit for tat.