Published: Tue, June 20, 2017
World | By Paul Elliott

Britain Starts Brexit Talks With a Whimper, Not a Bang

Britain Starts Brexit Talks With a Whimper, Not a Bang

United Kingdom negotiator David Davis says that Britain has gone into Brexit negotiations looking for a "positive and constructive tone" to deal with the myriad issues dividing both sides.

Davis, a veteran Eurosceptic, told Barnier that his team aimed to maintain a "positive and constructive tone" during the talks.

"We agreed on dates, organisation, and we agreed on priorities for the negotiations", Barnier said at a joint press conference with Davis.

"Our objective is clear; we must first tackle the uncertainties caused by Brexit, first for citizens but also for the beneficiaries of European Union policies, and for the impact on borders, in particular Ireland".

Mr Hammond told the BBC's Andrew Marr Show that having no deal would be "a very, very bad outcome for Britain" but added that one that aimed to "suck the lifeblood out of our economy over a period of time" would be even worse.

Mr Davis insisted the important point was not how the process starts "but how it finishes".

Reflecting on Britain's longtime European Union membership, Davis says that "there is more that unites us than divides us" despite the June 23, 2016 referendum in which Britain chose to break away from the 27 other member nations.

He said: "It is at testing times like these that we are reminded of the values and the resolve that we share with our closest allies in Europe".

"Nothing is agreed until everything is agreed", he said, using a line also expressed by the EU.

The UK will publish a detailed paper on Monday "outlining an offer" on citizens' rights, Mr Davis said, which he hoped would lead to a swift agreement.

The aim is to make sufficient progress to get leaders of the other 27 European Union countries to agree to move on to talks on a future relationship with Britain, including a trade deal, he said.

Brexit Secretary David Davis will call for "a deal like no other in history" as he heads into talks with the EU.

The two sides agreed in principle to a format of four-week rounds of bargaining, with one week per month of head-to-head bargaining, to be carried out in English and French. The top European Union negotiator, Michel Barnier, a former foreign minister of France, gave Davis a walking stick from his home region in the Alps.

An early election this month, in which British Prime Minister Theresa May lost her majority, only added to the problems, AP reported.

Gabriel said it might be possible for the United Kingdom to stay in the European common market, but warned that London would have to abide by the principle of freedom of movement for EU workers.

"It's been a year since the referendum".

"A fair deal is possible, and far better than no deal ..." As in any divorce, count on both sides to be picky in splitting the goods and dues.

Quoting Winston Churchill, Davis said in response: "A pessimist sees the difficulty in every opportunity; an optimist sees the opportunity in every difficulty".

Honda said no deal after two years of talks would likely damage suppliers and disrupt output and said it was discovering more cost and complexity as it examined the consequences of leaving the European customs union.

Britain now appears to have given in on the EU's insistence that the negotiations first focus on three key divorce issues, before moving on to the future EU-UK relationship and a possible trade deal.

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