Published: Tue, June 20, 2017
Markets | By Noel Gibbs

EU, UK agree on priorities, timetable for Brexit talks


But many in Brussels fear that London has no real strategy, with May under pressure at home and 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.

"As our largest single trading partner, we have a strong foundation to build on as we start preparation on joint work to explore a future ambitious trade agreement once the United Kingdom has left the European Union".

The UK Government said in a press release that Davis is "confident that he can get a positive outcome and secure a new deep and special partnership with the European Union".

Davis said he was heartened by the spirit of the talks, during which the negotiators, both interested in mountaineering, exchanged a walking stick and a hiking book.

"There will be no hostility on my side, I will display a constructive attitude firmly based on the interests and support of the 27".

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While the European Union negotiating team led by Barnier has been ready for months, British efforts on the exit stalled even after it triggered the two-year process March 29.

And even when May finally triggered the two-year unraveling process on March 29, she followed it up with an early election she counted on winning big, only to lose her majority in the June 8 poll.

The talks come days after May lost her parliamentary majority.

The mood was "incredibly positive" on the first day of Brexit talks between the two sides and they acknowledged that it was time to move quickly, a British source said.

"The most important thing I think now is for us to look to the horizon, think about the future, and think about the new partnership, the deep and special partnership that we want to build with our friends". But he also refused to discuss concessions to Britons who, in the eyes of most European Union leaders, are committing an act of self-harm.

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"It is no secret to anyone that this creates a great deal of uncertainty for European citizens and their rights, for the beneficiaries of European policies".

The issues at stake are daunting.

A terms-of-reference document agreed by the EU's Michel Barnier and Britain's David Davis said further talks would be held in the weeks starting on July 17, Aug 28, Sept 18 and Oct 9.

The signatories say that the "economic benefits" of the European Union single market, which allows free movement of goods, services, capital and people, and the customs union, which enables tariff-free trading within the EU, should be maintained until a final settlement between the United Kingdom and the EU is "agreed and implemented".

Though the basic outlines of a deal could be struck in the allotted time, he said, uncertain British politics could add a challenge.

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"Ultimately, if the Government is really out to get the best deal for Britain, they must be open to compromise on more than just the timetable of the talks, and start putting our economic prosperity at the heart of their negotiating strategy", he said.

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