UK Begins Brexit Negotiations In Brussels

Ruben Ruiz
June 20, 2017

The most senior officials on either side will lead work on efforts to resolve the problem of the border between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland, a situation Mr Barnier acknowledged was "politically sensitive" at a time when the Tory government was seeking the support of the Democratic Unionist Party to prop up Mrs May's minority government.

Barnier said there was agreement that the negotiators would first look at citizen's rights, the outstanding bill Britain must pay for previous European Union commitments and the Irish border issue.

"In a first step, we will deal with the most pressing issues".

Barnier, following the talks in a joint press conference with Davis, said: "Today we agreed on dates. Then, in a second step, we will scope our future relationship".

Davis said the talks were off to a "promising start" and denied that Britain had caved in on the sequencing of the talks.

With these tight negotiations and UK's current domestic crisis it does appear that today will be the start of a very long and arduous 21 months, if not longer.

Both sides acknowledged the clock was ticking, with the date for the UK's departure from the European Union fixed for March 2019.

As for the first negotiations round, "talks about talks" have already bared fruit with Britain and the European Union agreeing on the priorities and timetable for Brexit negotiations after the first session of talks.

He added they were determined to deliver certainty to expats as soon as possible.

The move backfired; May lost her Conservative majority in the vote and has been fending off critics of her leadership ever since.

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British Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson said Monday he still thinks that the Brexit negotiations will yield "a happy resolution that can be done with profit and honor for both sides". At a meeting of European Union foreign ministers in Luxembourg he said: "The most important thing for us is to look to the horizon, raise our eyes to the horizon".

Mr Davis also brushed off the idea Britain's negotiating stance could change given political instability in the UK.

The two men discussed the possibility of laying the groundwork for a new potential trade agreement between the United Kingdom and U.S. after Brexit.

"Twenty-seven member countries, European Parliament, the Commission, the Council have agreed".

The issues at stake are daunting. "This includes telling government which elements of European Union membership we need to maintain to enable us to continue to grow the sector, boost productivity, and deliver prosperity for all".

On the European side, leaders have remained united that the U.K. can not have full access to European markets unless it also allows full access to its own. I would have liked it to have been 10, 11 months ago.

As Europe grows more confident in its future after the election victory in France of pro-EU President Emmanuel Macron and the growing assurance from German Chancellor Angela Merkel that she will be re-elected in September, analysts say there may be fewer reasons for Europe to compromise.

Elmar Brok, a member of Angela Merkel's Cristian Democratic Union, said that all arms of the EU's expansive structure were in agreement, but that the United Kingdom had yet to provide sufficient detail on its position.

Though the basic outlines of a deal could be struck in the allotted time, he said, uncertain British politics could add a challenge.

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