UK, EU play up chance of Brexit deal

Vincent Carr
June 20, 2017

Mr Barnier warned the United Kingdom faced "substantial" consequences as a result of Brexit but insisted it was "not about punishment" or revenge.

"Now, the hard work begins", Davis said, adding he wanted a deal that worked for both sides.

Mr Davis, looking slightly more windswept than his flinty European colleague after the day's talks, brushed off the idea Britain's negotiating stance could change given political instability in the United Kingdom, with Prime Minister Theresa May seeking support of the Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) to prop up her minority government. "Today we agreed on dates, we agreed on organization and we agreed on priorities for negotiations".

Although the Brexit secretary said he had been encouraged by the constructive approach both sides had taken, the joint press conference hinted at the difficulties ahead.

The UK has now agreed to enter talks on divorce proceedings, including Britain's exit bill and the border with Northern Ireland, before any talks on future trading relations can begin.

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.

Both sides acknowledged the clock was ticking, with the date for the UK's departure from the European Union fixed for March 2019.

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"It's not when it starts, it's how it finishes that matters", he said.

Barnier said after welcoming Davis that it was important to tackle uncertainties caused by Brexit.

"They should be agreed alongside each other, this is completely consistent with the Council's guidelines which state nothing is agreed until everything is agreed".

Dr Fox said: "Our valuable talks underlined the shared interest in forging a closer trade and economic relationship including making progress on policy co-ordination, regulatory issues and expanding trade and investment between our economies".

The Brexit Secretary gave a glimpse into the first day of talks, saying more time had been spent discussing Ireland than any other issue. "Everyone must accept their responsibilities, the consequences of their decisions".

Regarding one of the key sticking points of any future agreement, UK Prime Minister Theresa May is set to make a proposal on the issue of European Union citizens' rights in Britain at an European Union summit this week, he said.

They exchanged gifts - a walking stick from Barnier's native Alps for Davis, a French mountaineer's memoir in a valuable first edition from the Briton to the Frenchman.

Other reports by BadHub

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