EU, Britain possible to strike 'fair deal'

Xavier Trudeau
Juin 20, 2017

European Union negotiator Michel Barnier and his British counterpart, David Davis, said after the first negotiating session that they were confident of quick progress but that major challenges lie ahead to meet the March 2019 deadline for the officially leave the bloc.

Meanwhile, Mr Barnier said he believed a "fair" deal was possible for both sides but he made clear the talks, beginning a year after the UK's Brexit referendum, would take place according to a timetable set by the EU.

Brexit negotiations which could define the UK's political and economic future have begun, with David Davis calling for a "new deep and special partnership" between Britain and Brussels.

Britain is due to leave the European Union at midnight Brussels time (11pm in the UK) on March 29 2019 - unless an extension is agreed by all 27 remaining member states. - with or without an agreement.

May's government said in a statement it was "confident it can achieve a bold and ambitious deal that will work in the interest of the whole U.K".

"Today we agreed on dates, we agreed on organisation and we agreed on priorities for negotiations", he said after the talks at the European Commission in Brussels. "We must first tackle the uncertainties caused by Brexit, first for citizens but also for the beneficiaries of European Union policies and for the impact on borders, in particular Ireland".

The Irish Border is one of the EU's top three priorities in the first phase of talks, along with citizens' rights and the UK's financial settlement.

The Mechanical Engineering Industry Association, known by its German initials VDMA, says that that goal of the two-year negotiating process is "damage limitation" because Brexit won't benefit either side.

Britain caved in to the European Union on the opening day of the Brexit talks, when it agreed to settle its "divorce" before trying to negotiate a future trade deal.

Brexit negotiations start on Monday, with question marks over Britain's approach after Prime Minister Theresa May lost her parliamentary majority in an election meant to strengthen her hand in the talks.

Still, British Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson remained upbeat Monday, saying he thinks the Brexit negotiations will yield "a happy resolution that can be done with profit and honour for both sides".

"The more that Britain is unstable politically, the more hard it is to complete the talks on time", Grant said.

Davis will lead a team of experienced negotiators to Brussels, confident that he can get a positive outcome and secure a new deep and special partnership with the European Union, said his spokesman.

The UK side is led by Brexit Secretary David Davis, the self-described "charming bastard" and committed Leaver who is spearheading the British negotiating effort.

"The elections were bad for May but I don't think the fundamental dynamics of the Brexit negotiations will change because of that", Stefan Auer, associate professor in European Studies at the University of Hong Kong, told CNBC on Monday.

Still, Johnson called on people to look at the more distant future.

"There is more political fragility, but the 27 European countries certainty don't want to end up in a sort of long-term relationship that would be one of animosity with the United Kingdom", he said.

If the fight over Britain's departure from Europe promises to be a political tug-of-war of the highest order, the first day of Brexit negotiations did not go well for the United Kingdom.

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