United Kingdom sees 'happy' Brexit outcome for both sides

Gladys Abbott
June 19, 2017

The European Union's Michel Barnier said he hoped the talks, starting nearly a year to the day after a British referendum vote to leave the EU, would establish a timetable to which the negotiations would be conducted.

While the Chancellor has reiterated that the United Kingdom will depart the single market and customs union when it departs the EU, he said that leaving without a deal in place would be "a very, very bad outcome for Britain".

Brexit negotiations which could define the UK's political and economic future have begun, with David Davis calling for a "new deep and special partnership" between Britain and Brussels.

This news will add further pressure to Brexit Secretary, David Davis, who is beginning talks with the EU's chief negotiator, Michel Barnier, today.

Brexit Secretary David Davis has said Britain will seek "a deal that works in the best interests of all citizens" in Brexit talks getting under way in Brussels.

Once the divorce is agreed, the talks will focus on that future trade deal that May wants and which she says should feature financial services.

The UK is set to leave the European Union by the end of March 2019.

"In testing times like these we are reminded of the values and resolve we share with our closest allies in Europe", he said, referring to the latest reported terror attack overnight in London and the loss of lives in forest fires in Portugal.

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"We must first tackle the uncertainties caused by Brexit", said Barnier, a former French minister, as he greeted Davis at the European Commission's Berlaymont Building headquarters.

"Sitting down for a first formal negotiation round is something in and of itself", an European Union source told AFP.

The euro got an overnight boost after French President Emmanuel Macron secured a comfortable majority in parliament in Sunday's election.

Amid reports that May is set to make a "generous offer" on the rights of European Union citizens remaining in Britain, the source said London had been warned against doing so this week, on the grounds that it could drag up the thorny issue before talks had really got going.

European Union negotiator Michel Barnier said the negotiations which should lead to a breakup by March 2019 "must first tackle the uncertainties caused by Brexit - first for citizens, but also for the beneficiaries of the European Union policies and for the impact on borders, in particular Ireland".

It also would have to accept the jurisdiction of the European Court of Justice, "or at least a joint court that is staffed by Europeans and Britons" and in principle follows the ECJ's rulings, Gabriel said.

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 centre to rival NY.

But he added: "It's a statement of common sense that if we are going to radically change the way we work together, we need to get there via a slope, not a cliff edge".

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