European Union kicks off formal Brexit process

Cornelia Mascio
Giugno 20, 2017

Amid reports that May is set to make a "generous offer" on the rights of European Union citizens remaining in Britain, the source said London had been warned against doing so this week, on the grounds that it could drag up the thorny issue before talks had really got going.

"Today we agreed on dates, we agreed on organisation and we agreed on priorities for negotiations", Barnier told journalists, describing the four-week model that the European Union had proposed during the initial technical talks that took place the week before Davis agreed to land to the Belgian capital. "I would like us to get a good agreement that is in both sides' interests".

May officially triggered the two-year Brexit process in March when she was riding high in opinion polls, and called for fresh elections shortly afterwards to shore up her mandate for a tough Brexit stance.

These include the thorny issues of Britain's estimated 100-billion-euro ($112 billion) exit bill, the rights of European Union citizens living in Britain, and the fate of the border in Northern Ireland.

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. "Our aim is to have one week of negotiations every month", said Barnier that further described the break-down of talks to into three groups that are to deal with: Citizens rights, Single financial settlement and Other separation issues.

"The best way we can spend this week is to rebuild trust", rather than tackle the big hard issues right at the start, a European source said. "A deal like no other in history", Davis said in a statement as he headed into the talks. According to what both sides revealed during their first press conference on Monday afternoon at the Berlaymont, the "four-week negotiating model" is expected to give pace to talks and achieve results faster.

"And so bridging between Churchill and Monnet I am certainly a determined optimist".

"When we eventually get to the stage where the council decide we have made enough progress, both sets of dialogue will continue, including free trade. The position we have agreed today is completely consistent with our long-standing position we have set out on article 50". "But the 27 of us will formulate our interests very clearly and hopefully, together", Merkel said. An early election this month, in which British Prime Minister Theresa May lost her Conservative majority in parliament, only added to the problems.

The two chief negotiators, Michel Barnier of the European Union and David Davis from Britain, immediately set off to find common ground in their working relationship, an important touchstone to see how amicable the biggest political divorce in decades will become.

There are widespread questions over whether Britain may soften its Brexit goals outlined before the election, which include taking the United Kingdom out of the EU's single market for goods and services and the bloc's customs union.

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