Talks begin over British divorce from European Union

20 Juin, 2017, 18:11 | Author: Claudine Rigal
  • Theresa May's BBC Newsnight interview revealed once again that when under pressure she finds it very hard to cope

Davis and Barnier will hold a press conference later on Monday.

Britain's Boris Johnson said that he looked forward to "a happy revolution" in relations that would be good for Britain and the rest of Europe, pointing out that the most important thing for both sides is to think about their new partnership, the deep and special partnership that the United Kingdom wants to build with their friends.

"We must first tackle the uncertainties caused by Brexit", centring on citizens living on each other's territory, border arrangements between Ireland and the United Kingdom and the amount that Britain stands to pay to get out of its previous European Union commitments, Barnier said.

"When the truth comes out about this tragedy, we may find that there is blood on the hands of a number of organizations", Lammy said.

"There is more that unites us than divides us", he said, adding that Britain was looking for a "positive and constructive tone" in the talks. EU leaders want May to lay off threats that she would walk out and leave a chaotic legal limbo for all Europeans.

And even when May finally triggered the two-year unraveling process on March 29, she followed it up with an early election she counted on winning big, only to lose her majority in the June 8 poll.

"She's got no mandate here and she's got no authority overseas and the negotiation starts tomorrow".

What about a possible €55B-€60B divorce bill?

Those issues are Britain's exit bill, estimated by Brussels at around 100 billion euros ($112 billion), the rights of three million European Union nationals living in Britain and one million Britons on the continent, and the status of the border between Northern Ireland and Ireland.

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He reiterated that the Conservatives did not commit neither to keeping taxation nor maintaining public expenditure at current levels, recalling his demand for "flexibility" in view of Brexit negotiations.

European Union diplomats hope this first meeting, and a Brussels summit on Thursday and Friday where May will encounter - but not negotiate with - fellow European Union leaders, can improve the atmosphere after some spiky exchanges.

Anxious by immigration and loss of sovereignty, Britons voted past year to end their country's four-decade membership in the 28-country bloc - the first nation ever to do so.

Mr Davis denied suggestions the agreed timetable showed Britain's "weakness" and insisted it is "completely consistent" with the Government's aim of parallel trade and exit talks.

Hammond was also pressed about £3 billion planned cuts to local government budgets, whose lack of funds were partly blamed for failures in the Grenfell Tower fire last Wednesday.

"The best way we can spend this week is to rebuild trust", rather than tackle the big hard issues right at the start, a European source said.

With co-signatories including the CBI, the IoD and the Federation of Small Businesses, the letter coincides with the start of Brexit negotiations, reportedly expected by one Brussels insider to have to cover more than 7,000 separate issues.

But on Sunday, he also backed up May's approach, saying Britain would leave the single market and the customs union that sets external tariffs for goods imported into the bloc.

But he warned that "we need to get there via a slope, not via a cliff edge".

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