Brexit talks to focus 1st on orderly exit

Posted June 23, 2017

Britain and the European Union (EU) have struck an upbeat tone after the first round of the Brexit negotiations held Monday, as the two sides set a preliminary timetable and the structure of the negotiations ahead.

Brexit secretary David Davis agreed to drop earlier demands he made last week that trade talks should run in parallel with the divorce discussions, an issue that he had promised to turn into "the row of the summer".

Anxious by immigration and loss of sovereignty, Britons voted past year to end their country's four-decade membership in the 28-country bloc - the first nation ever to do so.

Davis, a veteran campaigner against European Union membership, said he sought quick and substantive progress in what is scheduled to be a two-year negotiation before Britain leaves the EU.

Mr Hammond emphasised that leaving the EU meant the country would leave the single market and the customs union.

The EU said it was also looking for a good compromise.

The chancellor undermined the British prime minister's mantra that "no deal is better than a bad deal" on the eve of Britain's Brexit talks, after he suggested that "no deal would be a very, very bad outcome for Britain". The leaders are also likely to shape more clarity on the UK-EU relationship post the exit and the nature of trade deals between them.

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When asked whether agreeing to this schedule was a sign of the weakness of Britain's negotiating position, Davis said: "It is not how it starts but how it ends".

The European Commission, the bloc's executive body, has moved to tighten regulation of clearinghouses that process euro-denominated contracts, threatening tens of thousands of jobs in Britain once the country leaves the EU.

Talks were "very constructive", however the European Union warned "the clock is ticking".

The document released after the first day of discussion on "Terms of Reference for the Article 50 TEU negotiations" stated: "The following initial negotiating groups have been established: Citizens' rights; Financial Settlement; Other Separation issues".

The election had been called by the Conservative Party with the intention of consolidating its hold over United Kingdom politics.

"In order to work on this subject we need to be enlightened more on the nature of future relations which obviously will have repercussions for the content and the dimensions of such transition periods", Barnier said.

Meanwhile, German Chancellor Angela Merkel yesterday urged the EU's remaining 27 members to stick together during the Brexit talks. Yet many in Brussels fear that London has no real strategy, with May under pressure at home, still trying to close a deal with a conservative Northern Ireland party to stay in power, and facing criticism for her handling of the aftermath of a devastating tower block fire. They will use the time in between to work on proposals and exchange them.