Brexit talks to begin amid post-election fallout in Britain

Elias Hubbard
June 23, 2017

At the first formal Brexit negotiations Monday, Britain accepted the EU's timetable that the exit bill, citizens' rights and the Northern Ireland border be settled before its request for a free trade deal be considered.

After Monday's seven-hour session, European Union chief negotiator Michel Barnier described the meeting as "useful to start off on the right foot as the clock is ticking".

"The position we have agreed today is completely consistent with our long-standing position we have set out on article 50", he said at a press conference after the day's talks had concluded.

Negotiators from the two sides agreed to go ahead with the originally-planned start date of June 19 despite the snap election called by May backfiring, leaving her with a minority government and questions over that government's ability to begin the talks.

The EU has demanded an early agreement on three issues: the rights of EU nationals living in the United Kingdom; the UK's "exit" payment to the EU; and the border between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland.

May is set to brief European Union leaders on her Brexit plans over dinner on Thursday, before being kicked out while the remaining 27 discuss key issues including the future location of the EU's medicines and banking agencies, now based in Britain.

Tusk said when British friends asked him if he could imagine a way for Britain to remain part of the bloc, he told them: "The EU was built on dreams that seemed impossible to achieve".

"While this will be a Government that consults and listens, we are clear that we are going to see Brexit through, working with Parliament, business, the devolved administrations and others to ensure a smooth and orderly withdrawal".

Brexit negotiations began on Monday.

May had previously refused to guarantee the rights of European Union citizens in Britain until those of expatriate Britons were secured.

"If we can't get a sellable deal on this issue, which is less problematic than others, then we might be in trouble". They will use the time in between to work on proposals and exchange them.

This agenda seems to have been set by the European Union since the British government had wanted to also focus on trade and the future relationship between the two by running parallel negotiations on them alongside the other issues.

Speaking in Brussels, Brexit Minister David Davis said London wanted a "new, deep and special partnership" in the interest of Britons and all Europeans, Sky News reported.

Another British official said May would offer "new elements" in a paper to be published early next week.

Soros has famously bet against the British pound before, and is not showing much faith in Britain's economy with Brexit on the horizon.

"So we have got a very sensitive political context, a very clear objective which is to preserve all the dimensions of the Good Friday Agreement and we have an bad lot of work to do - bilaterally, and also in coordination with the Dublin government on my side, so that we come up with imaginative and concrete solutions along the lines I have described, particularly taking into account the single market".

Britain has less than two years to negotiate the terms of the divorce and the outlines of the future relationship before it is due to leave in late March 2019.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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