EU, Britain possible to strike 'fair deal'

Cheryl Sanders
June 20, 2017

"It's much more important to get the negotiations off to a good start and get rattling through them than getting stuck on a debate about money", he said, adding that time pressure also heightened the need for transitional arrangements.

What's more, Davis made clear that there's little appetite in Britain - at least in the opening salvo of negotiations - for a so-called soft Brexit.

Chancellor of the Exchequer Philip Hammond said on Friday that protecting jobs and the British economy would be priorities for his country.

German Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel told Sunday's Welt am Sonntag newspaper that "maybe there is now a chance to achieve a so-called "soft Brexit.'" But he said staying in the single market would require Britain to accept European Union workers" freedom of movement.

The two men gave a joint press conference at the close of the first day of talks, held in Brussels and meant to identify priorities and a timetable for the negotiations.

The program includes a working lunch and a closing session between the two top negotiators and meetings between their deputies.

The UK has made a major concession on the first day of Brexit talks, accepting that a trade deal can only be discussed after a multi-billion pound "divorce bill" is settled.

United Kingdom negotiator David Davis says that Britain has gone into Brexit negotiations looking for a "positive and constructive tone" to deal with the myriad issues dividing both sides.

"So while there will undoubtedly be challenging times ahead of us in the negotiations, we will do all that we can to ensure we deliver a deal that works in the best interests of all citizens". In any case, European Union officials say, London no longer seems sure of what trade arrangements it will ask for.

Mr Davis said Prime Minister Theresa May would brief fellow European Union leaders at a summit on Thursday on the UK's approach to the rights of expatriate citizens, which will be set out in detail in a paper on Monday.

"The elections were bad for May but I don't think the fundamental dynamics of the Brexit negotiations will change because of that", Stefan Auer, associate professor in European Studies at the University of Hong Kong, told CNBC on Monday.

"Over the coming weeks and months, the United Kingdom government must demonstrate how it is working to address the everyday considerations of British companies in the talks - who can they hire, whether their goods will be stopped at borders, and whether they will have to cope with extra costs".

A terms of reference document setting out the rules for both sides also states: "For both parties the default is transparency".

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. "A deal like no other in history", Davis said in a statement as he headed into the talks.

And even when May finally triggered the two-year unraveling process on March 29, she followed it up by calling an early election on June 8 that she hoped would strengthen her majority in parliament and thus her negotiating mandate with the EU.

"The other problem in parallel with that is that without creating a new hard border, at the same time we have to come up with solutions - especially for goods and services - but in a way that is compliant with the normal rules and integrity of the internal market", he said. The other European Union countries have a united position, but the British are "in chaos", Weber added.

Other reports by iNewsToday