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With 20 Months To Go, Brexit Talks Start In Brussels


07/17/2017


With 20 Months To Go, Brexit Talks Start In Brussels
Four days of talks between their teams in Brussels EU's Michel Barnier and Brexit Secretary David Davis about negotiations on Britain’s withdrawal from the European Union was launched on Monday.
 
The Frenchman will press Davis to agree to Britain covering substantial British financial commitments and offer more detail on other British proposals, after about a month of their first meeting where the two spoke of the mountain of complexity they must climb  and exchanged gifts inspired by a shared passion for hillwalking.
 
The 27 other EU national leaders want British Prime Minister Theresa May to rally her divided nation swiftly behind a clear, detailed plan with little more than a year to settle divorce terms before Britain leaves, deal or no deal, on March 30, 2019. It is desired that, as EU’s second biggest economy cuts loose from the continent, the plan should minimize economic and social disruption across Europe.
 
"We made a good start last month, and this week we'll be getting into the real substance," Davis said in remarks prepared for delivery ahead of the meeting. "Protecting the rights of all our citizens is the priority for me going into this round and I'm clear that it's something we must make real progress on."
 
Though Barnier has dismissed it as falling short of the EU demand that its 3 million citizens in Britain keep all their existing rights for life, Davis’s’ office described an offer made by Britain last month as "fair and serious".
 
Before a planned news conference on Thursday, in order to four key areas of priorities, negotiators will break into groups.
 
According to EU officials, Barnier wants to hold the Englishman publicly to whatever else has been agreed during the week and he secured Davis's consent last month to the EU's broad structure for talks.
 
Including loose ends, such as what happens to British goods in EU shops on Brexit Day, the EU demand that Britain pays some 60 billion euros ($70 billion) to cover ongoing EU budget commitments, and citizens' right are the three areas that working groups will focus on.
 
Focusing on curbing problems in Northern Ireland once a new EU land border separates the British province from EU member Ireland to the south would be a fourth set of talks, run by Davis and Barnier's deputies Oliver Robbins and Sabine Weyand. Some of that will have to wait for clarity on future trade relations.
 
From late August until early October, interspersed with internal EU sessions to coordinate the views of the 27 other governments, there are three more weeks of talks scheduled. On the divorce priorities for EU leaders to give him a mandate to launch negotiations on a future free trade agreement, Barnier hopes to be able to show "significant progress" at that point.
 
The EU's sequence for negotiations was accepted last month even as Davis and May had pressed over the past months for trade talks to start immediately. However, when trade talks begin, Brussels accepts that details on the divorce terms will still be open.
 
(Source:www.cnbc.com)