But the situation is very different from 12 months ago when the Brexiteers were riding high, with Prime Minister Theresa May’s entire approach called into question after a disastrous election performance on June 8. Both sides will put top advisers to work immediately on a border agreement between Ireland and the United Kingdom, aiming to make sure the Irish peace agreement and the common travel area should as unaffected by Britain’s European Union departure as possible.
Davis said both sides were “off to a promising start” even though the challenges ahead were daunting. Austrian Foreign Minister Sebastian Kurz said: “If we don’t succeed, both sides will lose”.
The Mechanical Engineering Industry Association, known by its German initials VDMA, says that that goal of the two-year negotiating process is “damage limitation” because Brexit won’t benefit either side.
Only when “sufficient, concrete progress” on the first phase has been made will Mr Barnier recommend to the European Council that the negotiations can enter the next stage, taking in the future trading relationship, with that recommendation possibly coming at October’s summit of EU leaders. “We’ve laid solid foundations for future discussions and an ambitious but achievable timetable”, said David Davis, Britain’s Brexit minister, adding he was “encouraged” by the first talks.
The talks will be in English and French, they said in a joint statement.
European stocks rose on Monday, partly on optimism about the talks actually getting underway after months of sniping and uncertainty, analysts said. The referendum was declared back on June 23, 2016, but Britain failed to make progress.
He added: “It’s not as if Europe is leaving Britain; Britain wants to leave the EU”.
With Mrs 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 US$2.5 trillion (S$3.5 trillion) economy and undermine London’s position as the only financial centre to rival NY. Membership of the customs union makes it impossible for countries to sign free trade deals with other, non-EU countries, whose products may not meet European standards.
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 honour for both sides”.
Johnson also urged Europeans to look further down the road. British Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson issued a statement about the UK’s future plans without its 27 other European Union members: “The most important thing for us is to look to the horizon, raise our eyes to the horizon”.
Britain’s Brexit minister David Davis, noting there were more things uniting the European Union and Britain than dividing them, said London wanted a deep and special relationship and that he would talk in a positive and constructive tone. “But we want to keep the door open for the British”.
The vote came as a profound shock to Brussels against a backdrop of rising anti-EU sentiment, with many – including now US President Donald Trump – predicting the bloc’s eventual break-up.