United Kingdom is ready to talk Brexit negotiations with EU

20 Juin, 2017, 17:40 | Author: Claudine Rigal
  • David Davis and Michel Barnier shake hands at the European Commission in Brussels on Monday as Britain starts formal talks to leave the EU

Brexit Secretary David Davis will demand a "deal like no other in history" as he heads to Brussels for day one of negotiations on the United Kingdom leaving the European Union.

Both EU negotiator Michel Barnier and his British counterpart David Davis said after the first negotiating session they were confident of quick progress but said major challenges lay ahead to meet the deadline of March 2019 for Britain to officially leave the bloc.

The Brexit secretary said he was determined to build "a strong and special partnership" with the EU, as he began talks at the European Commission in Brussels.

Davis said the talks were off to a "promising start" and denied that Britain had caved in on the sequencing of the talks.

Merkel said Monday: "I think it is premature to speculate on the first day of the negotiations how they will end".

"We will then publish a detailed paper outlining our offer on (next) Monday which I believe will form the right basis on which to reach agreement", he said.

"There will be no austerity on my side, I will display a constructive attitude firmly based on interests and support of the (EU) 27, and I will all the time seek to the continued support of the European Parliament", he said. Britain hopes the two themes - divorce terms and future relationship - can be discussed in parallel. And at a final news conference they traded quotes from their respective nations' history: Barnier cited European Union founding father Jean Monnet to say: "I am neither optimistic nor pessimistic. We must lift the uncertainty caused by Brexit", said Barnier.

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VDMA managing director Thilo Brodtmann said in a statement that "the European Union and Great Britain must absolutely avoid being left without an agreement in two years".

Davis said he was looking for a "positive and constructive tone" to deal with the myriad issues dividing both sides.

Time is pressing. After Britain's June 23, 2016 referendum to leave the bloc, the other 27 nations wanted to start the exit talks as soon as possible so they could work on their own futures, but Britain long seemed dazed by its own momentous move.

While Britain has struggled to agree on and present a coherent list of demands, the 27 European Union nations have had one message all along - in the words of Barnier on Monday: "We must first tackle the uncertainties caused by Brexit".

"Our big problem is that we have no picture, no idea at all, what the British want", said German Manfred Weber, the head of the EPP Christian Democrat group in the European Parliament. We keep hearing that they don't want a 'Norway model, ' they don't want a 'Swiss model, ' they want to leave the customs union, the internal market, they want to limit migration.

The negotiations kick off in Brussels on Monday with Britain under pressure for stalling the talks and entering the negotiations without a working parliamentary majority fully in place. The Irish issue, long described as a priority for both, will be treated somewhat differently; avoiding a "hard border" will necessarily have to take account of how the rest of EU-UK trade will work. "And fair means that we want to keep the British as close as possible to the European Union - but never at the price that we divide the remaining 27 European Union states".

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