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EU Chief Brexit Negotiator Michel Barnier(R), and British Secretary of State David Davis make statements as they arrive at EU headquarters in Brussels on Monday, June 19, 2017
EU Chief Brexit Negotiator Michel Barnier(R), and British Secretary of State David Davis make statements as they arrive at EU headquarters in Brussels on Monday, June 19, 2017

EU Wins 1st Brexit Battle

The EU’s chief negotiator, Michel Barnier, bluntly warned that a trade accord would not be fleshed out until after the UK leaves in less than two years, with the exit payment amounting to €100 billion ($112 billion)

EU Wins 1st Brexit Battle

The UK lost its first battle with the European Union over the timetable for Brexit talks, as the bloc’s chief negotiator warned that the consequences of leaving will be “substantial”.
On day one of the negotiations, British Prime Minister Theresa May’s government gave in to EU 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, Bloomberg reported.
The EU’s chief negotiator, Michel Barnier, bluntly warned that such an accord would not be fleshed out until after the UK leaves in less than two years. It was a clear rebuff to May’s stated ambition of wrapping up a new free trade agreement quickly.
“I’m not in a frame of mind to make concessions,” Barnier told reporters at the end of the first day of talks in Brussels. “The UK has decided to leave the EU. It’s not the other way around.”
This uncompromising stance is “not about punishment” or “revenge,” but simply a consequence of the UK’s decision to exit, he said. “The consequences are substantial.”

  Clock Ticks
The discussions between UK Brexit Secretary David Davis and Barnier marked the end of the beginning of what both sides expect to be a complicated and confrontational process to unwind more than four decades of membership.
The clock is ticking down to midnight on March 29, 2019, when the UK will leave the EU, with or without a deal.
Almost a year after British voters took the decision to leave the bloc, Davis took a team of officials to open the negotiations with Barnier in the European Commission’s Berlaymont building on Monday.
He pushed back against speculation that the UK might seek to soften Brexit by trying to remain in the EU’s single market and tariff-free customs union.
“We need to bring back to Britain control of our laws and control of our borders,” he said.
Just a month ago, Davis had predicted “the row of the summer” would erupt over how to structure the talks on Brexit. He wanted parallel discussions, 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 ($112 billion).
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. By Monday, he’d given up the fight.

  Fair Deal
Davis said Britain had not backed down. When the EU “decides we have made enough progress-their words-both sets of dialogs will continue, including free trade,” he said.
The UK and EU hope the first phase of talks focusing on the exit terms will conclude by October, allowing trade negotiations to begin.
Both sides were keen to emphasize their desire to work positively and to reach a fair deal that will foster friendly relations once Britain leaves.
Their early priority will be to reassure the estimated 4.5 million European and British nationals living in each others’ countries that they won’t be forced to leave their homes or find new jobs after Brexit.
May, bruised by an election this month that cost her Conservatives their parliamentary majority, will make her case for a quick agreement on residency for EU nationals and employment rights at a summit of European leaders in the Belgian capital later this week.
“She will then publish a detailed outline of her offer on Monday,” Davis said.

 

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