Billionaire Investor George Soros Says Britain May Reverse Brexit

Claudine Rigal
Juin 21, 2017

THERE WAS no escaping the symbolism of the gifts exchanged by Brexit Secretary David Davis and European Union chief negotiator Michel Barnier at the start of the talks.

Discussions aimed at preserving the Good Friday Agreement and common travel area in Ireland will begin, although Davis suggested these issues may not be settled until the end of the process, when the UK's trade relationship with the European Union is settled, the BBC reported.

Davis said the talks were off to a "promising start" and denied that Britain had caved in on the sequencing of the talks.

"There may well be the need for certain transitional periods, some of them which will involve phasing out, others potentially phasing in", Barnier told reporters in Luxembourg after a meeting of European Union affairs ministers. "It's not the other way around". "It's not about punishment, it is not about revenge", Barnier said.

"And the consequences are substantial".

UK Secretary of State for Brexit, David Davis (L) is welcome by Michel Barnier, the EU Chief Negotiator of the Task Force for the Preparation and Conduct of the Negotiations with the United Kingdom under Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty, ahead of a meeting at EU Commission in Brussels, Belgium, 19 June 2017.

Pictures of the opening session of the talk also sparked criticism over the lack of diversity in the negotiating teams.

Just a month ago, Davis had predicted "the row of the summer" would erupt over how to structure the talks on Brexit.

"In order to work on this subject we need to be enlightened more on the nature of future relations which obviously will have repercussions for the content and the dimensions of such transition periods", Barnier said.

Speaking to the same press conference, she added: "Time is not on our side but we welcome the fact that talks with the United Kingdom are underway as planned". By Monday, he'd given up the fight.

Mr Davis also brushed off the idea Britain's negotiating stance could change given political instability in the UK.

British Brexit Secretary David Davis said the country had not backed down over when talks could turn to a future trading relationship.

Terms of reference agreed by both sides envisage four rounds of talks on the first phase of discussions, in the weeks starting July 17, August 28, September 18 and October 9, implying trade talks are unlikely to open until after the European Council summit in October.

On day one of the negotiations on Monday, Prime Minister Theresa May's government gave in to European Union demands to discuss the terms of its divorce - including an exit fee - before any consideration of the trade deal Britain wants with Europe.

Lawmakers in British Prime Minister Theresa May's Conservative party believe they can stop Britain leaving the European Union without a deal if such a situation should arise, news media reported on Tuesday.

Yet, reflecting on the start of negotiations, British Finance Minister Philip Hammond called it positive, although he warned of protectionist moves by the EU. She will then publish a detailed outline of her offer on Monday, Davis said.

Davis gave Barnier an original, French-language account of an expedition to the Himalayas, while Barnier reciprocated with a traditional walking stick from his home region of Savoie.

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. "There will be no hostility on my side".

May's Tories are now stuck in power-sharing talks with Northern Ireland's Democratic Unionist Party, while she's under pressure from some ministers to seek a softer Brexit.

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