Britain and European Union 'get to work' on Brexit

Jerome Frank
July 18, 2017

After an initial meeting last month where the structure of the talks was determined, Britain's Brexit minister, David Davis, met up with the EU's chief Brexit negotiator in Brussels ahead of four-days of discussions.

But Brussels insists it will only start discussing the future once there has been "sufficient progress" on key issues involved in Britain's withdrawal―an estimated 100-billion-euro ($112 billion) exit bill, citizens rights, and the border in Northern Ireland.

Barnier and Davis last month agreed on a potential timetable for negotiations towards a future trade relationship, which Britain would like to start as soon as possible.

In Brussels, Davis acknowledged it was "incredibly important" to make progress, "that we negotiate through this and identify the differences so that we can deal with them and identify the similarities so that we can reinforce them". "We need to examine and compare our respective positions in order to make good progress".

The EU has demonstrated increasing confidence in recent weeks, accusing Britain of dithering over whether it wants a "hard" or "soft" Brexit more than a year after the shock referendum that propelled May to power.

Without "significant progress" on all three priorities in the divorce, Barnier warns, European Union leaders will not let Davis open talks on a free trade relationship, which May and much of British business want to have ready by the time Britain leaves.

The first objective is to show enough progress on a divorce package so that the European Union will agree to open talks on a future free trade deal.

Barnier, however, responded that he was not hearing any whistling, just the "clock ticking".

"I hope very much that people will look at that offer in the spirit it deserves", he told reporters.

Hammond, one of Johnson's main cabinet rivals, said Sunday that Britain will take responsibility for the money it owes, but dismissed the 100-billion-euro figure as "ridiculous".

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The pair have appeared alongside each other at the EU's headquarters as they begin another gruelling round of discussions on our European Union exit this week.

The ruling Conservatives lost their parliamentary majority in the June 8 vote, greatly weakening May's authority, although she remains in office as the head of a minority government.

For now, the EU says May's offer to guarantee the rights of 3 million Europeans in Britain falls short.

The depth of division among Prime Minister Theresa May's ministers was highlighted over the weekend as Hammond was accused of using the Treasury to "frustrate" the Brexit process.

Pictures showed a lack of notes on the table in front of Davis and his two advisers, in contrast to sheaves of paperwork brought by Barnier and his team. Or does he just have no ideas?

Late 17- European Union (Withdrawal) Bill (known as the "Great Repeal Bill") will go through parliament and will repeal the 1972 European Communities Act that took the United Kingdom into the EU and adopting EU laws.

On one side is the British negotiating team, made up of Mr Davis alongside the UK's permanent representative to the EU, Sir Tim Barrow, and its chief sherpa Olly Robbins.

"The Tory Brexit Secretary has been pictured sitting down for negotiations in Brussels. without any notes".

"David Davis has vowed to "get down to business" and hit the "substance" of Brexit talks as a new round kicks off today", wrote the Daily Mirror.

Other reports by Guamnewswatch

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