Britain, EU launch Brexit talks in Brussels

Brexit Secretary David Davis starts negotiations in Brussels on Monday, which will be followed by a Brussels summit on Thursday and Friday where British Prime Minister Theresa May will encounter - but not negotiate with - fellow European Union leaders.

Working groups will discuss aspects of the negotiations in the afternoon before a final meeting between Mr Davis and Mr Barnier.

A member of protocol carries the British flag prior to the arrival of EU Chief Brexit Negotiator Michel Barnier and British Secretary of State David Davis at EU headquarters in Brussels on Monday, June 19, 2017.

"We want both sides to emerge strong and prosperous, capable of projecting our shared European values, leading in the world, and demonstrating our resolve to protect the security of our citizens".

"The UK will remain a committed partner and ally of our friends across the continent", Davis said. On Monday, he called for "a deal like no other in history".

A spokesman for the Department for Exiting the European Union said: "We believe that the withdrawal process can not be concluded without the future relationship also being taken into account". Agreeing to pay a "Brexit bill" may be more inflammatory.

Other officials around the table include Glyn Williams, Director-General at the Home Office, who will bring his expertise on immigration issues and Catherine Webb, a former treasury official, who is Director of Market Access at DExEU.

The talks in Brussels consist of an opening session with both Mr Davis and Mr Barnier each joined by a large team of officials.

An attempt to strengthen her hand by calling an election backfired and she has been forced into doing a deal with the Democratic Unionist Party, talks on which are ongoing.

Theresa May had called for voters in the election to choose her "strong and stable leadership" to ensure that the United Kingdom had a strong hand in the Brexit negotiations. "But we want to keep the door open for the British".

Barnier, a keen mountaineer, spent the weekend in his native Alps "to draw the strength and energy needed for long walks".

Davis is to meet Michel Barnier, the EU's chief Brexit negotiator, to kick off hugely complex withdrawal negotiations that are expected to conclude within two years.

The Frenchman has been given a mandate by the leaders of the remaining EU27 states to focus initially on the key elements of the withdrawal package - a multi-billion euro "divorce bill", rights for European Union citizens and the status of the border between Northern Ireland and the Republic.

Without a parliamentary majority to support her controversial Brexit strategy, May's three main aims of leaving the single market, creating a new trade deal to replace customs union membership and withdrawing from the European Court of Justice are in danger.

With Britain's negotiations on the terms of its departure from the European Union set to begin on Monday, the country risks skills shortages and losing business if it ends freedom of movement without a new plan for attracting workers, the report by the National Institute of Economic and Social Research and the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development said.

From his comments, it appeared that the Brexit talks will largely follow the EU's conditions and will center on the two sides' new relationship only once sufficient progress has been made on the withdrawal issues.

Dr Fox is meeting a congressional delegation on Capitol Hill in an attempt to pave the way for a UK/US Free Trade agreement.

On Sunday, the International Trade Secretary, Liam Fox, flew to Washington DC on his first trade trip since the election.

  • Leroy Wright