A look at what is ahead now that Brexit talks have started

Cornelia Mascio
Giugno 20, 2017

Finance minister Philip Hammond confirmed on Sunday that Britain would be leaving not just the EU but also the single market and the customs union.

Five leading business organisations have called for continued access to the European Union's (EU) single market until a Brexit deal is signed.

"Northern Ireland is very complex and sensitive and we take it extremely seriously", Davis said.

Last week, the United Kingdom reportedly agreed that the talks would focus first on the key issue of separation before moving on to a possible trade deal.

"But it has nothing to do with the negotiations in the House of Commons", he said in reference to the ongoing government-forming talks in London.

A key issue he did not mention was the EU's bill for Britain to leave, which Brussels estimates at a colossal 100 billion euros.

He even took to dubbing himself "Mr. Brexit". Such firms sold 7.3 billion euros ($8.2 billion) worth of goods to customers in Britain past year, their fourth-biggest market.

A beaming Brexit Secretary David Davis, a veteran campaigner against European Union membership, told a sombre Michel Barnier, the EU's chief negotiator, on Monday (Tuesday NZ Time) that his team aimed to maintain a "positive and constructive tone" during "challenging" talks ahead in the hope of reaching a deal that was in the interests of both sides.

For many Brexit advocates, those conditions would be impossible to accept as last year's referendum campaign focused on getting back control over laws and immigration from the EU.

"Today we are launching negotiations on the orderly withdrawal of the United Kingdom from the EU", said Barnier, a former European commissioner and French foreign minister.

After seven hours of talks in Brussels, Mr Davis - who had previously promised the "row of the summer" over the timetable for the negotiations - said he was optimistic about the talks.

"Our big problem is that we have no picture, no idea at all, what the British want", said German Manfred Weber, the head of the EPP Christian Democrat group in the European Parliament. He said that the other European Union countries have a united position but the British are "in chaos".

The center-left Social Democrat strongly criticized May's Conservatives, saying that they "played with the emotions of citizens in Britain, told fake news about Europe and left people unclear about what consequences this would all have".

"Then in the second step, we scope our future partnership; we also agree on how we structure our tools".

A year after Britons shocked the continent by voting on June 23 to cut loose from their main export market, new debate within Prime Minister Theresa May's cabinet on precisely what kind of trading relationship to pursue has perplexed European Union leaders, who warn time is tight to agree terms before Britain leaves in 2019.

We will be closely monitoring these important negotiations over the coming months and will bring you updates on all the major events as they unfold.

Davis said he was looking forward to starting work on crafting the new future relationship between Britain and the EU.

Barnier however said that "a fair deal is possible and is far better than no deal - that is what I said to David today".

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