Britain-EU Brexit talks to start Monday as planned

Laura Christensen
June 18, 2017

Barnier this week acknowledged "sensitivity" in London at European Union suggestions that Britain might owe it some 60 billion euros in 2019 and said sorting out the issue soon would help a trade deal: "I would like to very quickly play down this question, and find concrete, pragmatic and just solutions", he said on Monday.

After a tumultuous week that pitched Britain into its deepest political crisis since the Brexit referendum a year ago, May's future was uncertain due to her botched gamble on a snap election and a muted response to a deadly fire in London.

But I am saying the DUP has committed to do its darnedest to prop up the Conservatives until 2022 - including by more-or-less integrating the two parties' respective whips offices (which manage how their MPs vote, to minimise the risk of defeats).

May gambled that a strong election win, as forecast by some pollsters, would boost her majority in the House of Commons in time for the Brexit talks, but instead, her party surrendered 13 seats in the lower chamber.

Besides forging a deal to keep her job and preparing for Brexit talks, May is also grappling with a crisis over the breakdown in power-sharing between the pro-British DUP and the Catholic nationalist Sinn Fein party in Northern Ireland's separate, devolved government.

The EU's executive Commission said in a statement Friday that the first round of negotiations in Brussels will be part of a "sequenced approach to the talks".

Brussels has insisted talks on the so-called divorce, taking in issues including the fee the United Kingdom will have to pay to sever its ties, must make sufficient progress before any discussion on a future trade agreement could begin.

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He wouldn't be drawn on whether he supported Britain's continued membership in the single market and said May's minority government will negotiate in a "pragmatic" manner, striving for a solution that works for both sides.

"We've set out the broad principles from where we will start the negotiation and we will negotiate in good faith, but it is a negotiation and we recognise there will be an exchange of views and we will take that forward in a spirit of genuine cooperation", Chancellor of the Exchequer Philip Hammond told reporters in Luxembourg on Friday.

Brexit negotiations are moving ahead against a backdrop of major splits in the Conservatives over just how to approach European negotiators.

"As a matter of fact in this case it's not for me to say whether or not this decision should be questioned - the decision to leave the European Union - but until the negotiations come to an end, of course there is always the possibility to reopen the door. The withdrawal and future are intimately linked".

"We believe that the withdrawal process can not be concluded without the future relationship also being taken into account".

Negotiations on Britain's withdrawal from the European Union will begin between British and EU officials on Monday, the British government said in a statement today.

Diplomats played down the prospects for one day of talks.

Other reports by My Hot News

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