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UK, EU talk up chance of Brexit deal
20 June 2017, 10:03 | Terri Saunders
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.
The Brexit talks, which finally began yesterday, came nearly a year after Britons voted to leave the European Union and amid confusion over what exactly the British government wants from the divorce.
The smiles belied the fact that at stake is not just Britain's future, but Europe's postwar political order and its place in the world, which could be fatally undermined without an agreement by the March 2019 deadline.
But the situation is very different from 12 months ago when the Brexiteers were riding high, with Prime Minister Theresa May's entire approach called into question after a disastrous election performance on June 8.
Uncertainty over the future trading relationship also means that special status in the talks has been given to discussions on how to limit the impact on peace in Northern Ireland from the creation of a new EU-UK border with the Irish Republic.
Asked if he had given any ground to Britain, Mr Barnier said: "I am not in a frame of mind to make concessions, or ask for concessions".
"I look forward to beginning work on that new future".
Trade talks between the United Kingdom and European Union will not begin until October at the earliest as Brexit negotiations will follow the timetable set out by Brussels in a blow to David Davis. The discussions in the meeting are expected to focus on the major divorce issues such as Britain's exit bill, which is estimated by Brussels at almost 100 billion euros or Dollars 112 billion, the rights concerning the three million EU nationals that stay in Britain, and the exit's impact on the one million Britons living across the European continent, and the status of operations in the states of Northern Ireland and Ireland.
"We must first tackle the uncertainties caused by Brexit-first for citizens but also for the beneficiaries of the European Union policies and for the impact on borders", Barnier said.
Monday's talks however are likely to focus on the practical details of timings for the coming months, with the big, divisive issues left aside for now, officials said.
May herself will be in Brussels on Thursday and Friday for a regular summit with fellow European Union leaders.
He had struck a conciliatory tone in an earlier statement, emphasising Britain and the EU's "shared European values".
But many in Brussels fear that London has no real strategy, with May under pressure at home and still trying to close a deal with a conservative Northern Ireland party to stay in power, and facing criticism for her handling of the aftermath of a devastating tower block fire.
"If the Government does not provide a user-friendly, flexible and affordable immigration system for European Union nationals post Brexit. significant numbers of employers will be forced to relocate or focus future growth outside the United Kingdom", said Gerwyn Davies, CIPD labour market adviser.
But he warned that "we need to get there via a slope, not via a cliff edge".
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