Brexit talks start as war breaks out among United Kingdom ministers

17 July, 2017, 17:47 | Author: Essie Rivera
  • Voters are split down the middle on the best way that Britain should leave the EU

Barnier said, "We will now delve into the heart of the matter", before the two sat down for a first meeting flanked by the officials who will lead the detailed negotiations.

Working groups will focus on three areas: citizens' rights; the EU demand that Britain pays some 60 billion euros ($70 billion) to cover ongoing EU budget commitments; and other loose ends, such as what happens to British goods in EU shops on Brexit Day.

Mr Davis said they made a "good start" at last month's preliminary talks - but it was now time to "get to the nitty-gritty".

The depth of division among Prime Minister Theresa May's ministers was highlighted over the weekend as Hammond was accused of using the Treasury to "frustrate" the Brexit process.

One key early advance that European Union officials hope for this week is for Britain to stop challenging the principle it will owe Brussels money - though how much will have to be argued over and can not be calculated until Britain actually leaves.

Ahead of four days of talks this week, Frenchman Barnier warned that the "hard work starts now" following the largely ceremonial first round of talks in June, and that the "clock was ticking" to reach a deal.

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.

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And his allies blasted Michael Gove for reportedly being behind the "smear campaign" of leaking details from last week's Cabinet meeting. Beyond these headline goals, they will discuss how to ensure a smooth transition on Brexit Day, a set of topics known as "other separation issues" where the ECJ looms large.

But in the same interview, the Chancellor - seen as an advocate of a so-called soft Brexit - infuriated hardline Tory Brexiteers who want a clean break from the European Union by suggesting a transitional period could last two years.

These ranged from claiming that public sector workers were "overpaid" to saying that driving a train was so easy "even a woman" could do it.

"I think on many fronts it would be helpful if my colleagues - all of us - focused on the job in hand". UK's negotiating chief is expected to return to Brussels to wrap up the second round of talks and assess this negotiating week alongside Barnier at the Berlaymont press room.

Common ground was very much lacking last week after British foreign minister Boris Johnson's remarked that the European Union could "go whistle" over its massive Brexit bill demand, drawing a rebuke from Barnier. These two key players will meet regularly through the week, with the aim of keeping the talks on track.

"The plenary meetings [of the Brexit talks] will show us whether there is a realistic basis for agreement or whether the British government can not move at all because of its own problems", said Elmar Brok, a German centre-right MEP who helps coordinate the European parliament's position on Brexit.

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