Published: Mon, June 19, 2017
World News | By Carolyn Briggs

Britain-EU Brexit talks to start Monday as planned

Britain-EU Brexit talks to start Monday as planned

The UK government's Brexit Secretary David Davis and the EU's chief Brexit negotiator, Michel Barnier, agreed on Thursday that official divorce talks will begin Monday, June 19.

Britain's finance minister said Friday that protecting jobs and the economy should be the main focus in upcoming discussions over the country's exit from the European Union.

"The only thing I know is that there is an Article 50 request and we have been preparing ourselves for a long time to start negotiations on that basis".

Instead, the shock outcome has left May weakened among her Conservative Party and thrown open her Brexit strategy to criticism from peers, some of whom want to ditch the current plan to leave the European Union single market and customs union. She also said that the talks with May's party had covered corporation tax and same sex marriage.

Brussels has insisted talks on the so-called divorce, taking in issues including the fee the United Kingdom will have to pay to sever its ties, must make sufficient progress before any discussion on a future trade agreement could begin.

The opening was set to take place on Monday, but was delayed amid negotiations.

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Uncertainty over Brexit has already had a "negative impact on everybody in Europe, especially on Britain", said Mr Verhofstadt.

Manfred Weber, the German head of the centre-right European People's Party, the largest group in the assembly, said May now has "no majority" for a so-called hard Brexit, in which Britain leaves the EU with no deal on the divorce terms or on future relations with the EU. It does not wash.

Davis told BBC radio on Monday that the government stood by its threat to "walk away" with no deal if talks - when they do eventually start - break down.

"Theresa May must immediately create a cross-party joint cabinet committee to negotiate Brexit".

The newly-appointed Environment Secretary said the European Union referendum result must be honoured but it is "really important" that the exit package is "in the interests of the whole country".

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