Brexit Talks To Begin In Earnest Negotiators Say

Trevor Jackson
July 18, 2017

He said the leak undermined his plan to make the future of the British economy the central focus of the Brexit talks, ahead of Britain-EU immigration policies.

In contrast, on the other side of the table sits Mr Barnier alongside his two most trusted lieutenants Sabine Weyand, who is renowned as one of the EU's sharpest minds, and Stephanie Riso.

"It is time to get down to work and make this a successful negotiation", said Davis.

Brexit secretary David Davis said this morning the two sides would be focusing on four key issues this week: citizens rights, finance, separation issues and Northern Ireland.

Davis and Barnier will give an update on the progress made in a joint press conference on Thursday.

"We need to examine and compare our respective positions in order to make good progress", he said.

"We'll now delve into the heart of the matter", Barnier, a former French foreign minister and European Commissioner, told reporters. Matters regarding Britain's departure from the economic bloc will be handled by subordinates until Davis returns on Thursday.

The meeting between Davis and Barnier featured just two aides each; the absence of notes in front of the British trio, compared to sheaves of papers on the European Union side, sparked scathing jibes from critics in Britain who see Prime Minister Theresa's May's government as divided and badly unprepared.

More than a year after the Brexit referendum, some still argue that it would be in Britain's interests to remain in the European Union, and retain the benefits of free movement of people, capital, goods and services.

David Davis smiles as Michel Barnier talks at the start of Brexit talks
Video Davis Let's get down to business

Finance minister Philip Hammond, who like May campaigned previous year to keep Britain in the European Union, accused unnamed colleagues of trying to undermine what is seen as his push for a "soft Brexit" that prioritises trade rather than hardliners' demands for controls on European Union immigration or an end to European Union legal oversight.

However, Barnier said they would be in contact throughout the week. The minister said Hammond viewed Brexit supporters as "a bunch of smarmy pirates" who have "taken the establishment prisoner".

"I think on many fronts it would be helpful if my colleagues - all of us - focused on the job in hand".

Mr Davis headed back to London as tensions mount within the government over Brexit, pitting chancellor Philip Hammond against hardline Brexiters.

With the government paralysed, London has opted for a spot of royal soft power, sending Prince William and his wife Kate on a "Brexit diplomacy tour" of Poland and Germany.

Earlier estimates put the bill between €60 billion and €100 billion.

The four days of talks are set to also address more detailed concerns such as Britain's future in Euratom, the EU's nuclear safety agency, and the role of the European Court of Justice, the EU's top court.

United Kingdom finance minister Philip Hammond said Sunday that Britain will take responsibility for the money it owes, but dismissed the 100 billion euro figure as "ridiculous".

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Other reports by TheDailyFarc

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