Britain and European Union 'get to work' on fresh Brexit talks

Cheryl Sanders
July 17, 2017

Britain is embarking on the first full round of Brexit negotiations, as the Cabinet remains in all-out war over the Government's negotiating strategy.

"The first serious test of the negotiations will be them agreeing to pay the bill", a senior European Union official said - the coming week is a vital moment to establish rapport among the senior civil servants who will handle what is arguably the most convoluted and far-reaching diplomatic deal of modern times.

Crucially, last month, Mr Davis caved in to the EU's insistence that the talks would move on to trade only when "enough progress" had been made on Brussels' three priorities.

David Davis smiles as Michel Barnier talks at the start of Brexit talks
Video Davis Let's get down to business

Working groups will focus on three areas: citizens' rights; the EU demand that Britain pays some 60 billion euros ($69 billion) to cover ongoing EU budget commitments; and other loose ends, such as what happens to British goods in EU shops on Brexit Day.

'We need to examine and compare our respective positions in order to make good progress'.

Twice in as many days, newspapers ran hostile stories about Hammond from last week's cabinet meeting, leaked by other ministers at the table.


It comes after reports emerged that Mr Davis would be carrying sensitive documents in a special briefcase that can't be accessed by foreign spies. "We'll now delve into the heart of the matter", Barnier told reporters, declining questions until the end of this round of talks on Thursday.

The British side had urged over the past months an immediate start of trade talks, but Barnier had insisted that key issues of Brexit must be dealt with before trade talks begin.

Negotiation on the exit bill might be especially tough, following British Foreign Minister Boris Johnson's remark last week that the European Union could "go whistle" over its "extortionate" bill demand.


Mr Barnier, who has made clear that he is not prepared to start talks on a trade deal until there has been sufficient progress on the financial settlement, retorted icily he could not hear any whistling, "just the clock ticking".

"The plenary meetings [of the Brexit talks] will show us whether there is a realistic basis for agreement or whether the British government can not move at all because of its own problems", said Elmar Brok, a German centre-right MEP who helps coordinate the European parliament's position on Brexit.


Other reports by iNewsToday

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