The European Union is expected to have the upper hand when it formally begins Brexit negotiations with British Prime Minister Theresa May as it look to send a message to euroskeptic members of the regional bloc.
Nine months after the historic Brexit referendum, May will notify the European Council on Wednesday that the U.K. will officially terminate its 44-year old membership with the E.U. The move paves the way for talks on two key sectors: terms of the divorce, which includes residential rights of both citizens and the U.K.'s financial obligations, as well as future economic relations.
The logistics behind the negotiations have already become a source of tension. The U.K. would like to discuss both the divorce and trade simultaneously whereas the E.U. would rather have sequential talks instead, explained Adriano Bosoni, Stratfor's senior Europe analyst.
While it's in the union's advantage to ink a deal, especially if it wants to maintains its trade surplus with the U.K., political factors could force the E.U. to adopt a tough stance.
"At a time when euroskepticism, nationalism and populism is on the rise in many European countries, governments will keep an eye on their domestic situation. They will want to send a message to voters and parties that Brexit is not a painless process," said Bosoni.