UK, EU Set To Open Next Round Of Brexit Talks In Brussels

Barnier, who secured Davis's consent last month to the EU's broad structure for talks, wants to hold the Englishman publicly to whatever else has been agreed during the week, European Union officials say. The EU has demanded Britain to pay some 60 billion euros (70 billion USA dollars) as exit fee. The EU has publicized its preferred agenda, which includes the settlement of issues including citizens' rights and financial obligations, before discussions turn to trade agreements.

Davis and May had pressed over the past months for trade talks to start immediately but accepted the EU's sequence for negotiations last month.

Barnier last week held a series of meetings in Brussels with British opposition Labor leader Jeremy Corbyn and other United Kingdom figures at odds with May.

But the plan took a considerable blow when the Tories lost their majority in the House of Commons at the general election. The tensions have shaken the British government, which on Thursday introduced the draft law that would formally put an end to Britain's membership of the EU May faces a battle over the bill, which opponents said included a unsafe "power grab" by London at the expense of Scotland and Wales.

The former Labour Prime Minister said it is possible the will of the British people could change as the public becomes more aware of the potential economic damage of a hard Brexit. "I think my colleagues should be very quiet, stick to their own departmental duties and I think the public expects us to be disciplined and effective".

The negotiation is expected to be complicated, as May's minority government will face challenges at every step in the process. Or does he just have no ideas?

More news: South Korea offers direct talks with the North

Davis's urgency has a practical reason: with the clock ticking down to Britain's scheduled European Union exit in March 2019, citizens' rights is one of three areas, along with the Irish border and Britain's exit bill, that European Union chief negotiator Michel Barnier says need sufficient progress before he'll discuss future ties with the UK.

But Brussels insists it will only start discussing the future once there has been "sufficient progress" on key issues involved in Britain's withdrawal―an estimated 100-billion-euro ($112 billion) exit bill, citizens rights, and the border in Northern Ireland.

More divisions were exposed last Sunday, when Hammond said transitional arrangements for Britain leaving the European Union are likely to last a couple of years, rather than the few months suggested by Trade Secretary Liam Fox.

Pictures showed no notes on the table in front of Davis and his two advisers, in contrast to sheaves of paperwork brought by Barnier and his team.

"David Davis has vowed to "get down to business" and hit the "substance" of Brexit talks as a new round kicks off today", wrote the Daily Mirror.

(Copyright © 2015. All Rights Reserved.)
 
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