Brexit talks round two: European court of justice looms large

by Antonio Miles July 17, 2017, 20:35
Brexit talks round two: European court of justice looms large

Michel Barnier, the European Commission's chief negotiator, offered Mr Davis a "warm welcome" and said the latest round of discussions, which will last for four days, would "delve into the heart of the matter".

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.

Mr Barnier, who has made clear that he is not prepared to start talks on a trade deal until there has been sufficient progress on the financial settlement, retorted icily he could not hear any whistling, "just the clock ticking".

Finance chief Philip Hammond said on July 16 that Britain will take responsibility for the money it owes, saying, "We're not a country that walks away from its debts". We need to examine and compare our respective positions in order to make good progress".

Mr Hammond lifted the lid on cabinet feuding by claiming damaging stories about him had come from fellow ministers out to get him because he is pushing for a softer Brexit.

The European Council President said it was "below expectations". The EU also accepted that details on the Brexit terms will still be open when trade talks start.

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Mr Davis returns to Brussels this morning for round two. Barnier and Davis are to brief the media on Thursday, when they would give political endorsement to whatever officials have managed to agree.

The group Migration Watch, which argues for lower immigration, said in a report that if the United Kingdom remains in the single market and thus subject to free-movement rules after Brexit, net migration from the European Union is likely to continue at about 125,000 people a year for at least the next decade, keeping overall annual net migration at about 250,000.

The rowing will be seen as further evidence of Theresa May's weakness after seeing her Commons majority wiped out in last month's general election.

Negotiators will focus on key issues concerning Britain's withdrawal, including citizens' rights, Britain's exit bill and the border in Northern Ireland. The EU remains uncertain about whether British negotiators will be able to conclude an agreement, amid deep political divides in the government on Brexit.

Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson, who is in Brussels on separate business, said: "A very fair, serious offer has been put on the table by the UK Government about citizenship, the value we place on the 3.2 million European Union citizens in our country".


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