Michel Barnier: Brexit talks will get to ‘heart of the matter’

The second round of Brexit negotiations kicks off on Monday (17 July) in Brussels, focusing on the key issues of the divorce agreement.

“We made a good start last month but. we are now getting into the substance of the matter”, Davis told reporters as he was welcomed at the European Commission in Brussels by Barnier, a little more than a year after Britons voted by a narrow majority to leave the EU.

Talking to media, Michel Barnier said now it’s time to make this a successful negotiation.

Mr Barnier said: “We will now delve into the heart of the matter”. That was a reminder of a gulf in perceptions across the Channel where European Union leaders have assumed from the outset that Britain would need more than the two years allowed by treaty to negotiate the deal it wants to retain close, open trading links with the continent.

The depth of division among Prime Minister Theresa May’s ministers was highlighted over the weekend as Hammond was accused of using the Treasury to “frustrate” the Brexit process.

Trade minister Liam Fox, who favours a cleaner break with the EU, said on Sunday he could live with a transition – during which it is likely Britain would keep paying a share of the EU budget and follow EU rules – as long as it was kept short.

Britain is embarking on the first full round of Brexit negotiations, as the Cabinet remains in all-out war over the Government’s negotiating strategy.

Mr Davis made clear his first priority would be resolving the issue of citizens” rights, saying he was determined to make “real progress’.

In October, EU leaders could decide on Barnier’s recommendation on whether talks have achieved “sufficient progress” in order to progress onto discussing future relations. High on the list of priorities is the status of European Union citizens in Britain after Brexit, the UK’s bill for leaving and the Irish border.

U.K. Secretary of State David Davis said at the start of the four-day session Monday that “it is incredibly important we now make good progress”. He added that Britain’s proposal to safeguard the rights of European citizens is “good” and “I hope very much that people will look at that offer in the spirit it deserves”. The pound fell from a 10-month high against the dollar on concern that discord within the United Kingdom government is worsening before the nation starts the second round of Brexit negotiations with the European Union.