March 18 2018

Finally, Britain kicks off Brexit negotiations with EU

March 18 2018, 05:17 | Van Peters

Britain vowed to secure a "deal like no other in history" at the start of the complex 18-month process.

Here is everything you need to know and some of the key dates in the 15-month talks.

In a joint statement issued, officials said: "David Davis, Secretary of State for Exiting the European Union, and Michel Barnier, the European Commission's Chief Negotiator, agreed today to launch Article 50 negotiations on Monday, 19 June".

Such is the collapse of May's authority that her entire Brexit strategy is being picked apart in public by her ministers, her lawmakers and her allies on the eve of formal negotiations which begin in Brussels on Monday at 0900 GMT.

A coalition of influential business groups echoed that sentiment on Monday, saying that the government should "put the economy first" in the Brexit talks.

But Mrs May confirmed the timetable remains on course and will begin next week.

Those issues are Britain's exit bill, estimated by Brussels at around 100 billion euros ($112 billion), the rights of three million European Union nationals living in Britain and one million Britons on the continent, and the status of the border between Northern Ireland and Ireland.

Barnier dismissed the suggestion of postponing the negotiations and said such a delay would only prompt further instability.

Also up for discussion is how big the so-called "divorce bill" will be.

But the true figure could be far lower, as the 100 billion does not account for tens of billions that Britain is set to get back in shared assets and rebates.

Mr Davis also brushed off the idea Britain's negotiating stance could change given political instability in the UK. Before the Tories' election debacle, the Brexit secretary threatened to play hardball with Brussels, vowing to resist the EU's timetable of deferring trade talks until after progress was made on the divorce.

Parliament normally sits for one year, but officials said late Saturday night more time will be needed. She even threatened to walk away from Europe without paying a hefty divorce bill or striking a new trade deal.

However, Mr Davis said the offer would not be published until next Monday, after Theresa May briefs European Union leaders on her intentions at a summit at the end of this week. This is set to focus on migration and security.

How often will the two sides be meeting? .

Barnier said there will be one week of negotiations every month and the two sides will use the time in between to work out proposals. They will then return to their bases across the Channel to develop their positions.

The EU leaders would discuss progress at their October meeting.

Roth said that "Brexit is a very, very hard operation" and there's only a bit over a year to negotiate it. "These talks will be hard at points, but we will be approaching them in a constructive way".

The European Court of Justice is expected to rule on whether a deal must be approved by the parliaments of the individual member states, Theresa May has promised MPs at Westminster a vote, and finally there will be a vote of the European Parliament. It left an image of a dysfunctional Britain coming up against a well-oiled European Union negotiating machine. Hammond has now readopted the position he held in March when he said it was "clear" the United Kingdom would leave the trading area.

"I do not know which particular line of approach is being made by the Government because they are in complete division, so I think actually removing this Government and allowing a Labour government, if necessary a minority government, to come into place would give us clear direction on all of this", he told Sky News.

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