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Britain, EU begin formal Brexit talks
20 June 2017, 11:06 | Terri Saunders
Britain, EU begin formal Brexit talks
David Davis has conceded that trade talks will only begin after Brexit divorce proceedings. An attempt to strengthen her hand by calling an election backfired and she's run into further domestic strife since, while the 27 other European Union members started out with more leverage anyway.
"In the first step, we will deal with the most pressing issues, we must lift the uncertainty caused by Brexit; we want to make sure that the withdrawal of United Kingdom happens in an orderly manner". He wanted parallel discussion, covering both the future trade deal and the terms of Britain's departure - including a demand for an exit payment of as much as 100 billion euros (S$154.6 billion).
"We must first tackle the uncertainties caused by Brexit", Mr Barnier said, citing the rights of European Union citizens in Britain and the possible impact on the open border between Northern Ireland and Ireland.
He added: "It's not as if Europe is leaving Britain; Britain wants to leave the EU". And it is not clear if United Kingdom producers could apply for European Union subsidies in the same manner they do now. "If there is going to be a deal, it makes it more likely to be softer than before the election, but on the other hand the probability of no deal at all has increased". The public mood has also been shaken by a wave of terror attacks in recent weeks, the latest of which involved a van that rammed pedestrians near a mosque in North London early on Monday morning, killing one and injuring ten.
Nearly a year after British voters took the decision to leave the bloc, MrDavis took a team of officials to open the negotiations with Mr Barnier in the European Commission's Berlaymont building on Monday.
As for the four-week cycles, as Barnier confirmed, will split into four parts, with just the few first days, namely the first week of each cycle to be Barnier - Davis negotiations. 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.
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How the negotiations progress will be monitored closely by investors and business leaders.
The other priorities will be to agree a method to calculate the UK's financial and European Union budget commitments, and finding a solution that would avoid a hard border between the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland. The pound has fallen about 14 percent against the dollar since the June 23 referendum, pushing up inflation even as the economy shows signs of slowing.
"This is a technically hard issue but it is one which I am certain is soluble, although it will probably take us until the end of the process when we have already decided what our customs and free trade arrangements are".
Mr Davis - who has been tipped as the frontrunner to take over as Conservative party leader - said he would hammer out a "bold and ambitious deal" for the UK. They should finally tell us what the aim is.
The start of the negotiations comes as work continues across the British government to prepare Britain for life outside of the EU.
In Berlin, German Chancellor Angela Merkel emphasized the unity of the remaining 27 European Union countries, who have been alarmed in recent weeks by May's threats to walk out of the talks.
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