Finance

And so it begins: Brexit talks to focus 1st on orderly exit

And so it begins: Brexit talks to focus 1st on orderly exit

European Union chief negotiator Michel Barnier said the talks with Brexit minister David Davis, which are starting a full year after Britain's seismic vote to leave, had started "on the right foot".

Negotiator for the EU, Michel Barnier, said he hoped the initial talks would focus on a timeline for the negotiations and priorities for it.

Davis said Britain's negotiating position had not changed as a result of his Conservative Party's poor showing in recent elections.

"In the first step, we will deal with the most pressing issues, we must lift the uncertainty caused by Brexit; we want to make sure that the withdrawal of United Kingdom happens in an orderly manner".

"My clear view - and I believe the view of the majority of people in Britain - is that we should prioritize protecting jobs, protecting economic growth and protecting prosperity as we enter those negotiations and take them forward", he said last week.

"We have the Lancaster House speech, the two white papers and the article 50 letter, all backed up by a manifesto - and so it's the same as it was before", he said, reiterating that Britain will leave the single market and seek to set up a free trade arrangement with the EU.

It was a clear rebuff to May's stated ambition of wrapping up a new free trade agreement quickly.

The EU and Britain on Monday launched the long-awaited Brexit talks at European Commission's headquarters in Brussels, almost one year after Britain voted to leave the bloc by a narrow margin on June 23, 2016.

Austrian Foreign Minister Sebastian Kurz said, "If we don't succeed, both sides will lose".

Shiv Sena non-committal on BJP's presidential candidate Ram Nath Kovind
With the Sena realising how much the BJP needs it for July's presidential polls, the saffron party is pushing for a hard bargain. Thackeray, however, said that they would extend their support only if the decision was taken for the development of the nation.

Reflecting on Britain's longtime European Union membership, Davis says that "there is more that unites us than divides us" despite the June 23, 2016 referendum in which Britain chose to break away from the 27 other member nations.

"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 wanted parallel discussion, covering both the future trade deal and the terms of Britain's departure - including a demand for an exit payment of as much as 100 billion euros ($112 billion).

He added: "It's not as if Europe is leaving Britain; Britain wants to leave the EU".

Britain is "very conscious of how they will use that time sequence to pressure us, and we'll avoid that at every turn", Davis told ITV on May 14.

He added: "The United Kingdom has made a decision to leave the European Union, it is not the other way around". The UK is going to leave the EU, the single market and the Customs Union, not the other way around. "In a second step, we will scope our future partnership". But the road to Brussels has already taken a heavy toll on the UK's credibility, destroyed the unity of the British people and soured the goodwill of the European Union.

"The most important thing for us is to look to the horizon, raise our eyes to the horizon. In the long run, this will be good for the United Kingdom and good for the rest of Europe".

"If the European Union wants a free trade agreement too, and it's in their interests there will be one".

Roth said that "Brexit is a very, very hard operation" and there's only a bit over a year to negotiate it.


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