Brexit Secretary David Davis targeting a 'deal like no other in history'

Cheryl Sanders
June 20, 2017

Michel Barnier, a former European Union commissioner and now the EU's chief negotiator, will meet the UK Brexit secretary, David Davis, with their respective teams in the Brussels HQ of the commission, the Berlaymont, at 11.00am on Monday.

At stake in hugely complex talks facing a March 2019 deadline is not just Britain's future but a western political order that would be badly shaken by a failure to reach a deal. An early election this month, in which British Prime Minister Theresa May lost her Conservative majority in parliament, only added to the problems.

The UK is reportedly planning to make a generous offer to the 3 million European Union nationals living in Britain so long as it's reciprocated for the 1 million Britons residing on the continent.

May's government said in a statement it was "confident it can achieve a bold and ambitious deal that will work in the interest of the whole U.K".

"My clear view - and I believe the view of the majority of people in Britain - is that we should prioritize protecting jobs, protecting economic growth and protecting prosperity as we enter those negotiations and take them forward", he said last week.

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".


Both Davis and May remain committed to plans to crash out of the European Union if no deal is secured in two years, saying that "no deal is better than a bad deal".

Britain seems to have tacitly accepted the EU's plan for sequenced talks, which will focus first on the terms of Britain's withdrawal, with negotiations on a future relationship and trade deal coming later.

Working groups will be set up to focus on three key areas - the status of EU citizens living in Britain and British citizens living in the EU; the divorce bill for Britain; and the future of the Northern Irish border with EU member Ireland.

"Sitting down for a first formal negotiation round is something in and of itself", an European Union source told AFP.

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.

Anxious by mass immigration and loss of sovereignty, Britain a year ago voted to end its decades-old membership of the 28-nation bloc in a shock referendum result.


- Summer - Negotiations on the Brexit deal expected to continue in Brussels, with the Davis and Barnier teams meeting for one week in each month, before returning to base to report back and develop their positions.

Threats by Britain to walk away without a deal have also anxious European capitals.

May has said she is open to some kind of association agreement with the customs union and wants to avoid any so-called "cliff-edge" into uncertain trading conditions, but she has also said Britain must be able to control immigration - something it can not do while a member of the EU.

"To that end we are starting this negotiation in a positive and constructive tone, determined to build a strong and special partnership between ourselves and our European allies and friends for the future", he said.

Asian markets are waiting for the political developments in Europe ahead of the Brexit negotiations between the United Kingdom and the European Union.

But finance minister Philip Hammond confirmed Sunday that Britain would still be leaving the EU, the single market and the customs union.


Other reports by iNewsToday

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