The first day of Brexit talks began with smiles and diplomatic pleasantries about a shared determination to be “constructive”, but ended with both David Davis, the Brexit secretary and Michel Barnier, the European Union chief negotiator, getting somewhat shirty.
“Our objective is clear”.
Talks on Britain leaving the European Union began Monday with both sides saying they will focus first on an orderly withdrawal: a deal for citizens living in each other’s territory, border arrangements between Ireland and the United Kingdom and the amount that Britain will pay to get out of previous EU commitments.
Regarding the future relationship with the EU, Davis said Britain has not changed its position, reiterating that Britain will leave the single market and the customs union, which is “the only way” to allow Britain to develop free trade agreements with non-EU countries.
While the European Union negotiating team led by Barnier has been ready for months, British efforts on Brexit stalled even after it triggered the two-year process on March 29. Britain itself encountered issues of its own when Prime Minister Theresa May lost the majority vote on June 8th while the European Union was ready to plan its future without the nation.
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”.
He said May will publish a detailed paper outlining Britain’s approach on protecting citizen rights at the European Union summit on Thursday and Friday, which he believes “will form the right basis on which to reach agreement”. Austrian Foreign Minister Sebastian Kurz said: “If we don’t succeed, both sides will lose”. The referendum was declared back on June 23, 2016, but Britain failed to make progress.
And even when May finally triggered the two-year unraveling process on March 29, she followed it up by calling an early election on June 8 that she hoped would strengthen her majority in parliament and thus her negotiating mandate with the EU.
Ian Howells, Honda’s European senior vice president, told an autos conference that the company had discovered more complexity and cost as it delved further into the impact an exit from the customs union would have on the British vehicle industry.