As Brexit talks begin, Europe sees economic upswing over UK

28 June, 2017, 02:44 | Author: Elaine Woods
  • There is a strong case to be made for special funding from Brussels

The EU played down on Tuesdayreports that British Prime Minister Theresa May would make a "generous offer" to protect European citizens after Brexit, saying it was only fair to guarantee their rights.

The Brexit talks were finally launched at the European Commission's headquarters in Brussels almost one year after Britain's June 23, 2016 referendum to leave the bloc.

Britain should ensure that employers retain access to both skilled and unskilled workers from the European Union as it begins talks to leave the bloc or there is a risk of damaging United Kingdom businesses, a research report by two think tanks said on Monday. "I'm well aware that throughout the process there will be points of compromise".

Martin Schulz, the Social Democrat (SPD) chancellor candidate who Merkel will square up against in her bid to win a fourth term in September's election, told the same conference: "The best result of the Brexit negotiations would be - there wouldn't be a Brexit".

Following the first day of Brexit negotiations, which took place in Brussels on Monday, the former Conservative Party leader said he liked the tone Michel Barnier had taken with David Davis.

"For us it's not a question of generosity, it's a question of continuity and fairness", Stefaan De Rynck, a senior aide to chief EU Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier, said at a seminar in Brussels.

On day one of the negotiations, Prime Minister Theresa May's government gave in to European Union demands to discuss the terms of its divorce - including the exit fee - before any consideration can begin on the future trade deal Britain wants with Europe's common market.

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Opponents of Brexit seized on the EU's success in imposing its timetable for the talks as evidence of the UK's weak negotiating position. When the European Union "decides we have made enough progress - their words - both sets of dialogs will continue, including free trade", he said.

When asked why he had capitulated to European Union demands, Davis replied that: "It's not when it starts".

Asked what concessions he was prepared to grant the UK, the Frenchman said: "The UK has chose to leave the European Union, it's not the other way around". As a result, Barnier said, there would indeed be discussions on trade in parallel with the EU's other issues - just not immediately.

"I thought that was quite a good not concession, but certainly a good indication of the direction of travel of him as a negotiator". It's not about punishment, it is not about revenge.

"Today we agreed on dates, we agreed on organisation and we agreed on priorities for the negotiation", Barnier said.

"We are looking to unravel 43 years of patiently built relations".

British Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson said Monday he still thinks that the Brexit negotiations will yield "a happy resolution that can be done with profit and honor for both sides". "I will do all I can to put emotion to one side", Barnier said.

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