A look at what is ahead now that Brexit talks have started

Cheryl Sanders
June 20, 2017

The smiles belied the fact that at stake is not just Britain's future but also Europe's postwar political order and its place in the world, which could be fatally undermined without an agreement by the March 2019 deadline.

"In the first step, we will deal with the most pressing issues, we must lift the uncertainty caused by Brexit; we want to make sure that the withdrawal of United Kingdom happens in an orderly manner".

"Today we agreed on dates, we agreed on organisation and we agreed on priorities for negotiations", Barnier told journalists, describing the four-week model that the European Union had proposed during the initial technical talks that took place the week before Davis agreed to land to the Belgian capital.

EU and British negotiators say the first day of negotiations on Britain's departure from the European Union was productive in outlining the program ahead and setting out the first challenges to settle, especially the rights of citizens living on each other's territory.

Barnier said they wanted to agree on the "main principles of the key challenges of the UK's withdrawal as soon as possible", including Britain's exit bill, the rights of European Union citizens in Britain and the future of Northern Ireland.

European stocks rose today, partly on optimism about the talks actually getting underway after months of sniping and uncertainty, analysts said.


Macron, a committed pro-EU leader and ally of German Chancellor Angela Merkel, easily won French legislative elections on Sunday, cementing his power base.

Mr Johnson, who has previously described the estimates emerging from Brussels of the so-called "divorce bill" as "absurd", added: "I think the whole thing, the whole process will lead to a happy resolution that I think can be done with profit and with honour for both side and that's what we're aiming for".

Anxious by immigration and loss of sovereignty, Britons voted last June to become the first nation ever to leave the 28-nation EU. "There is more that unites us than divides us".

May officially triggered the two-year Brexit process in March when she was riding high in opinion polls, and called for fresh elections shortly afterwards to shore up her mandate for a tough Brexit stance.

European Union leaders have said they hope sufficient progress is made on the key divorce issues by the autumn to allow discussions to begin on the future trade and security relationship.

Those issues are the exit bill; the rights of three million European Union nationals living in Britain and the one million Britons on the continent who now are allowed to live, work and claim welfare benefits; and the status of the border between Northern Ireland and Ireland.


However, EU leaders are also said to be determined not to allow concessions to Britain that might encourage others to quit.

Only once the EU27 determine that "sufficient progress" has been made on these issues will talks be able to progress to a second phase, where the two sides will begin to scope out the future of their relationship.

After the initial shock of last year's Brexit vote and faced with rising anti-EU sentiment, the bloc at 27 appears to have steadied in recent months and got a real boost with the election of new French President Emmanuel Macron in May.

The Brexit Secretary and EU's chief negotiator appeared together on stage as they face off in the opening round of bruising talks over the UK's exit.

The Brexit Secretary gave a glimpse into the first day of talks, saying more time had been spent discussing Ireland than any other issue.

Dr Mireille Pouget added: "With a Brexit glacier to climb DD will need all the mountaineering gifts he can get".


Other reports by iNewsToday

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