Domingo, 20 Agosto, 2017

EU, UK agree Brexit talks principles: Barnier

Brexit negotiations GETTY- STOCK IMAGEThe Brexit negotiations will begin today
Malita Javier | 20 Junio, 2017, 11:15

With discontent in europhile Scotland and troubled Northern Ireland, which faces a new European Union border across the divided island, Brexit poses new threats to the integrity of the United Kingdom.

"Given the range of political and technical issues at stake, I think this very much justifies our dialogue and the dialogue should indeed represent a safeguard to all concerned that we are very much committed to this as a priority", Mr Barnier said.

The EU's chief negotiator, France's Michel Barnier, welcomed his counterpart David Davis with a handshake and smiles for the press in the European Commission's landmark headquarters in central Brussels flanked by the EU and British flags.

But he made clear that only when the other 27 member states are satisfied that sufficient progress is being made on this issue that the talks can move on to the future trade relationship.

Mr Coveney said he would highlight the particular issues facing Northern Ireland - in regard to the peace process and cross-border movement - when he met the EU's chief negotiator Michel Barnier in Luxembourg on Tuesday.

But Mr Barnier added that he was "not in a frame of mind to make concessions", and suggested the United Kingdom would have to face up to "substantial" consequences of leaving the EU.

Brexit talks to focus 1st on orderly exit
Prime Minister Theresa May had called an early election in June with hopes of securing a stronger mandate throughout the Brexit talks .

Merkel said Monday: "I think it is premature to speculate on the first day of the negotiations how they will end". For one thing, renewed debate in her cabinet on how far to go with her clean break from the single market and customs union has made it hard to present a coherent set of demands in Brussels. "Everyone must accept their responsibilities, the consequences of their decisions". An EU official said Britain still refused to accept it would owe Brussels anything.

"I want to reiterate at the outset of these talks that the United Kingdom will remain a committed partner and ally of our friends across the Continent".

And at a final news conference they traded quotes from their respective nations' history: Barnier cited European Union founding father Jean Monnet to say: "I am neither optimistic nor pessimistic". There will be no hostility on my side.

"I will display a constructive attitude firmly based on the interests and support of the 27", he said.

Mr Barnier did not give a figure for how much the European Union will be demanding to settle the UK's outstanding budget commitments. The two sides are expected to meet monthly until March 2019, when Brexit is due to happen. Their first task must be to "tackle the uncertainties caused by Brexit", he said, citing the rights of European Union citizens in Britain and the possible impact on the open border between Northern Ireland and the republic.

"So now that the negotiations have started, we are determined to get on with the job and deliver that certainty as soon as possible".

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The Brexit negotiations started as International Trade Secretary Liam Fox met USA trade representative Robert Lighthizer in Washington.

"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".

Dr Fox said: "Our valuable talks underlined the shared interest in forging a closer trade and economic relationship including making progress on policy co-ordination, regulatory issues and expanding trade and investment between our economies".

Senior DUP representative and former Stormont minister Simon Hamilton also struck a positive tone during a day that saw the first round table plenary session of a talks process that started last week.

Mr Davis also rowed back on previous rhetoric that "no deal is better than a bad deal", saying he wanted "to achieve the best possible outcome and strongest possible partnership" with the EU.

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