Sunday, 25 June, 2017

Britain-EU Brexit talks to start Monday as planned

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       Ministers to demand softer Brexit as Cabinet meets for first time Video Ministers to demand softer Brexit as Cabinet meets for first time
Wilma Wheeler | 18 June, 2017, 02:05

Fighting for her political survival, May has been trying to strike a deal with a small Northern Irish Protestant party to avoid a second election that could delay Brexit talks and damage the $2.5 trillion economy.

In a joint EU and United Kingdom statement issued later on Thursday, officials said: "Michel Barnier, the European Commission's Chief Negotiator and David Davis, Secretary of State for Exiting the European Union, agreed today to launch Article 50 negotiations on Monday June 19".

"David Davis, Secretary of State for Exiting the European Union, and Michel Barnier, the European Commission's Chief Negotiator, agreed today to launch Article 50 negotiations on Monday, 19 June", the department said in a statement.

Earlier this week, in a joint press conference with Mrs May, French president Emmanuel Macron claimed the door is "always open" for the United Kingdom to remain in the European Union before Article 50 negotiations are concluded.

"Both parties are committed to the Union, Brexit, combating terrorism and prosperity across the United Kingdom".

European Union officials in Brussels are ready to negotiate - the sense of impatience is palpable.

"While talks are progressing it's important the government gets on with its business".

The unprecedented negotiations at the Commission's offices come nearly exactly a year after Britons voted last June 23 to leave the EU.

After voters rejected that request, the Brexit talks start Monday lacking clarity on what the exact nature of the UK's departure from Europe will be.

The talks also gave her the opportunity to try to reassure the other parties that a tie-up with the DUP would not compromise Britain's impartiality in the delicate Northern Ireland peace process.

Liberal Democrat leader Tim Farron called for a cross-party committee to be set up to handle the Brexit negotiations.

Put together, May's case for a hard Brexit is extraordinarily weak - something that negotiators in Brussels will see coming before Davis and his team have a chance to step off the Eurostar train.

But his planned address was postponed because of the Grenfell Tower fire tragedy.

But as the first senior royal to discuss Brexit, he claimed companies were eyeing fresh opportunities in non-EU markets once Britain leaves the bloc. But public trust in the government is faltering, and May's own poll ratings have plummeted since Election Day.

He wouldn't be drawn on whether he supported Britain's continued membership in the single market and said Prime Minister Theresa May's minority government will negotiate in a "pragmatic" manner, striving for a solution that works for both sides.

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