Published: Mon, June 19, 2017
Global News | By Stacy Ballard

Finally, Britain kicks off Brexit negotiations with EU


The UK embarks on its historic negotiations to leave the European Union today (19 June) with the first official Brexit talks getting under way in Brussels at 11h.

With May still hammering out the details of a post-election deal to stay in power with the support of a small Northern Irish party, there are fears of a disorderly exit that would weaken the West, imperil Britain's $2.5 trillion economy and undermine London's position as the only financial center to rival NY.

Britain's negotiations with the European Union over its exit from the bloc begin on Monday and stand to be complicated by the surprise loss of Prime Minister Theresa May's parliamentary majority in a national election last week.

The proposed deal would see the DUP back the Conservatives in votes on the Budget and on any confidence motion while other matters would be negotiated on an issue-by-issue basis.

"The two issues - Northern Ireland and Brexit - might end up making the other more hard, in a vicious circle", Usherwood said.

The newspaper quoted another former minister as saying: "If she weakened on Brexit, the world would fall in. all hell would break loose".

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Still, British Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson remained upbeat Monday and thinks that the Brexit negotiations will yield "a happy resolution that can be done with profit and honor for both sides".

The Conservative source said talks with the small Northern Irish party were progressing well ahead of meetings later Thursday in Downing Street with all of the British province's main political leaders.

Mr Hammond said the United Kingdom would definitely be leaving both the EU single market and the customs union, but said that a transitional deal to enable a smooth exit from both was highly desierable.

Opponents describe that as a "hard Brexit".

The start of the negotiations comes as work continues across the British government to prepare Britain for life outside of the EU. The pound has fallen about 14 percent against the dollar since the June 23 referendum, pushing up inflation even as the economy shows signs of slowing.

Mr Hammond said he would not agree to a deal that would "destroy" Britain.

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May's election debacle has revived feuding over Europe among Conservatives that her predecessor David Cameron hoped to end by calling the referendum and leaves European Union leaders unclear on her plan for a "global Britain" which a lot of them regard as pure folly. Talks on Britain's future relationship with the bloc are to be held back until later in the year.

The EU has set three priority areas: Britain's exit bill, the rights of EU citizens living in Britain, and Northern Ireland.

Some Conservatives have called for a more inclusive approach that would include opposition parties as well as stronger voices from Scotland and Northern Ireland, where a majority of voters backed Britain to stay in the EU.

However, five leading Business groups have sent an open letter to the government pleading with it to soften its approach and "put the economy first" in talks.

According to the guidelines, the first phase will focus on two main issues, namely citizens' rights and immediate effects of the Brexit on them, as well as settlement of financial rights and obligations that were undertaken by the United Kingdom as a European Union member state.

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