Brexit: EU says ‘clock ticking’ on talks, Britain optimistic of good outcome

Brexit Secretary David Davis will call for a “deal like no other in history” as he heads to Brussels to launch negotiations for Britain’s exit from the European Union.

The mood was “incredibly positive” on the first day of Brexit talks between both sides, a British source said.

“Ultimately, if the Government is really out to get the best deal for Britain, they must be open to compromise on more than just the timetable of the talks, and start putting our economic prosperity at the heart of their negotiating strategy”, he said.

Mr Davis’s meeting with the administration of prime minister Mariano Rajoy came after a setback in Brussels saw United Kingdom officials agree to the Brexit timetable set out by the European Commission’s chief negotiator Michel Barnier.

Additionally, she is facing pressure from hard-line “Brexiteers” within her party who want a hard break from the 27-nation bloc, as well as from those who want a softer Brexit deal that would keep some of the current conventions of the relationship in place. “We must lift the uncertainty caused by Brexit”, Barnier said.

“Then in the second step, we scope our future partnership; we also agree on how we structure our tools”.

They first exchanged gifts – a mountain walking stick from Barnier’s Savoy region in the French Alps for Davis, a book on Annapurna climbing for Barnier.

In a decision branded “common sense” by European Union chief negotiator Michel Barnier, the United Kingdom will now work to Brussels’ timetable.

Residents now enjoy free movement across the border and many businesses have facilities on both sides.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel says she hopes for a “good agreement” after Brexit talks in which 27 European Union countries will listen carefully to what Britain wants but also defend their own interests. Her Conservative Party’s comfortable majority in the lower house of the British Parliament evaporated following a lackluster campaign.

Still, British Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson remained upbeat Monday and thinks that the Brexit negotiations will yield “a happy resolution that can be done with profit and honor for both sides”.

Johnson also urged Europeans to look farther down the road.

The talks at the European Commission’s headquarters kicked off just shy of a year after the Brexit referendum, when U.K. voters chose to leave the EU by a 52 percent to 48 percent margin, and almost three months after U.K. Prime Minister Theresa May sent a letter formally triggering the withdrawal process.

However, not much clarity was provided immediately after the first official meeting of the EU-UK sides. He said that the other European Union countries have a united position but the British are “in chaos”.

The center-left Social Democrat strongly criticized May’s Conservatives, saying that they “played with the emotions of citizens in Britain, told fake news about Europe and left people unclear about what consequences this would all have”.

Germany’s deputy foreign minister, Michael Roth, told RBB Inforadio that “we must of course protect our interests as the European Union 27 but naturally we also don’t want to punish Britain”.

Both men said they had spent a great deal of time discussing the question of Northern Ireland where all parties seek to uphold the free border.

May’s government said it was “confident it can achieve a bold and ambitious deal that will work in the interest of the whole U.K”.

With a further million British expatriates in the EU, May too wants a deal on citizens’ rights, though the two sides are some way apart.