EU's Brexit negotiator puts pressure on UK

Jerome Frank
June 17, 2017

Brexit negotiators will discuss Monday Britain's financial obligations to the European Union as the long, complicated and potentially perilous process of the United Kingdom leaving the bloc finally gets underway.

In a joint statement issued, officials said: "David Davis, Secretary of State for Exiting the European Union, and Michel Barnier, the European Commission's Chief Negotiator, agreed today to launch Article 50 negotiations on Monday, 19 June".

May gambled that a strong election win, as forecast by some pollsters, would boost her majority in the House of Commons in time for the Brexit talks, but instead, her party surrendered 13 seats in the lower chamber.

Hammond said Britain's position had been set out in a speech by May in January and a letter she sent to European Union leaders in March when she triggered the Brexit process.

After the 2017 election meltdown saw the Conservatives lose their majority in Parliament, Theresa May was forced to seek the help of a smaller party to keep them in Government.

She has since said the timetable will remain unchanged but there is growing pressure on her to moderate the government's approach and favour maintaining close ties with the European single market.

A confidence and supply deal was drawn up in the days following the General Election, and the DUP saw their golden opportunity to prop up the Conservatives in return for concessions.

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The Democratic Unionist Party wants to attach its own conditions onto Brexit as part of its deal with the Conservatives - including the insistence on a "soft border" between Northern Ireland and the Irish Republic.

Senior representatives from Northern Ireland's main political parties met May in London earlier.

The 1998 peace accords in Northern Ireland set up a power-sharing executive in the British province, but this collapsed in January when Irish republicans Sinn Fein pulled out, citing a breakdown in trust.

Almost a fifth of the UK's food and drink exports go to the Republic of Ireland and in March industry bodies from across the British food and drink sector wrote an open letter to various government departments calling for "frictionless" tariff-free trade with Ireland to continue post-Brexit.

Sixty-three percent said they hold a favorable view of the European Union - a majority of Greeks disagree - and 49 percent said they believed Germany has too much influence over decision making in the bloc.

Following the talks, Sinn Fein president Gerry Adams said the party would not stand for any Conservative-DUP arrangement which compromised British government impartiality in Northern Ireland.

"The prime minister has totally ignored the will of those people in terms of Brexit".

Other reports by Guamnewswatch

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