EU says divorce bill, citizens' rights focus of Brexit talks

Pauline Gross
June 17, 2017

Prime Minister Theresa May wants to negotiate the divorce and the future trading relationship with the European Union before Britain leaves in March 2019, followed by what she calls a phased implementation process to give business time to prepare for the impact of Brexit.

On Thursday, May visited the wreckage of an apartment building in west London, where at least 17 people were killed in a fire, and ordered a public inquiry. "I got us into this mess, and I'm going to get us out", she said.

In Brussels on Monday Barnier met Olly Robbins, a senior official in Davis's ministry, and Britain's ambassador to the EU Tim Barrow to discuss arrangements for the talks following the election shock. They say the government will struggle to pass legislation.

Philip Hammond, Britain's finance minister, says protecting the British economy should be the main goal of upcoming negotiations over the country's exit from the European Union.

European Commission First President Frans Timmermans told the Prague event that the EU would be happy to see the United Kingdom change its mind and stay in the bloc.

In a joint press meeting with French President Emmanuel Macron at the Elysee Palace, May stressed that the "timetable has not changed and negotiations will begin next week", dismissing fears of a possible delay in Brexit talks after she lost parliamentary majority in a snap general election.

"The door of course is still open as long as Brexit negotiations have not been concluded", he said.

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Former Prime Minister David Cameron has urged his successor, Theresa May, to adopt a "softer" Brexit.

"I agree. But like Alice in Wonderland, not all the doors are the same".

Mr Barnier is due to report back to leaders of the 27 other EU states on Thursday to review progress ahead of a two-day summit of the European Council attended by Theresa May which starts later that day.

"It will be a brand new door with a new Europe, a Europe without rebates, without complexity, with real power and with unity".

But Jeremy Corbyn, leader of Britain's main opposition, said his Labour Party would not support May's Queen's Speech in the lower house of parliament to try to force her out of power through a vote of no confidence.

However, putting the pro-British unionist DUP in a position of influence in London could also undermine the British government's ability, enshrined in a 1998 peace agreement, to function as an impartial broker between Northern Ireland's unionists and its Catholic Irish nationalists.

Other reports by GizPress

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