Brexit talks begin in earnest with citizens' rights in focus

Kristopher Drake
July 18, 2017

Prior to his departure, Davis said it was important to now "get into the substance of the matter", and acknowledgement that little was accomplished during the opening of negotiations in June.

British Prime Minister Theresa May will seek to reimpose order on her ministers after a series of damaging leaks pointing to cabinet splits on Brexit, her spokesman said today.

Brexit minister David Davis met European Union negotiator Michel Barnier for a second round of talks ahead of Britain's historic withdrawal from the bloc, scheduled for March 2019.

"She will just be reminding them of their responsibilities", he said, adding that each minister's job is to focus "on delivering for the British public".

In contrast leading Brexiteers, like Mr Davis and foreign secretary Boris Johnson, have been more upbeat about the UK's chances of forging a new global role for itself outside the EU.

His backing helped secure a four-point victory for the Leave camp in June past year.

Negotiators will focus their talks on key issues, with Britain's exit bill as the core.

A year after the referendum vote to leave, Prime Minister Theresa May still faces a complex task in finding consensus at home on what kind of Brexit Britain wants.

In contrast, on the other side of the table sits Mr Barnier alongside his two most trusted lieutenants Sabine Weyand, who is renowned as one of the EU's sharpest minds, and Stephanie Riso. That would raise huge uncertainty for businesses and millions of people across Europe as Britain would simply be out of the bloc on March 30, 2019 with no clear rules on what that should mean.

Talks to extricate Britain from the European Union began in earnest Monday with both sides still seemingly far apart on citizens' rights after Brexit officially takes place in less than two years.

Barnier, a former French cabinet minister who much prefers to speak his native tongue, greeted Davis in English, the only language most British civil servants can work in.

And his allies blasted Michael Gove for reportedly being behind the "smear campaign" of leaking details from last week's Cabinet meeting.

While Mr Barnier will hold a press conference at the close of talks on Thursday, Mr Davis' team has yet to confirm whether the minister will join him.

Did David Davis forget his notes? That prompted mockery among critical British commentators who saw it as an image of the government's failure to prepare for such a vital negotiation.

October 18- Barnier has said he hopes all talks including the future relationship and any transitional arrangements will be completed to get an exit deal agreed within 18 months of Article 50 being triggered.

The two sides are also discussing sharing liabilities from trade disputes including WTO litigation over Airbus (AIR.PA) subsidies in a long-running case with the United States, the European Union source said."Currently we are in talks with the United Kingdom to come to a joint approach on the matter, on all the aspects of the divorce, with regard to the WTO".

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