Thursday, 27 July, 2017

UK, EU negotiators to 'get down to work' on Brexit terms

Pro-Leave supporters holding a Union Jack flag celebrate after Leave won in London Pro-Leave supporters holding a Union Jack flag celebrate after Leave won in London
Kenny Thornton | 17 July, 2017, 16:27

European Union officials hope the British government shows more urgency about a Brexit deal when its negotiators come to Brussels on Monday for a first full round of talks aimed at smoothing Britain's departure.

At the start of the Brussels talks, Mr Davis - whose allies claim 30 Tory MPs are ready to back him if he runs for the leadership - is expected to call for both sides to get down to business.

In Brussels, Davis acknowledged it was "incredibly important" to make progress, "that we negotiate through this and identify the differences so that we can deal with them and identify the similarities so that we can reinforce them".

The priorities, notably rights for expatriate citizens, how much Britain may owe to the EU budget and how to manage the new EU-UK border, especially with Ireland, are ones both sides want to settle in a withdrawal treaty.

'Protecting the rights of all our citizens is the priority for me going into this round and I'm clear that it's something we must make real progress on'.

Monday's talks, however, come amid signs of increasingly serious splits within the United Kingdom government over the preferred approach to the talks, with the chancellor, Philip Hammond, complaining on Sunday that he was being briefed against by fellow ministers opposed to his pro-business focus.

No threat of imminent execution to Kulbhushan Jadhav: SC lawyer
Kulbhushan Jadhav, 46, was sentenced to death by a Pakistani military tribunal in April on charges of espionage and terrorism. India, on the other hand, had said Jadhav was an Indian national who was captured by Pakistani army.

He said he came under attack at the weekend from hard line Brexiteers "who are not happy with (my) agenda" after a series of cabinet leaks meant to undermine him. Mr Hammond all but admitted a report he had told the cabinet that public-sector workers are "overpaid" was true - while denying he had said "even a woman" can drive a train.

"I do think on many fronts it would be helpful if my colleagues - all of us - focused on the job at hand", he told the BBC.

The prime minister had made similar pronouncements before, but the statement to MPs and peers carried weight in Brussels.

Negotiation on the exit bill might be tough as British Foreign Minister Boris Johnson made the remark last week that the European Union could "go whistle" over its "extortionate" bill demand, which means the European Union has little chance of getting it. The EU remains uncertain about whether British negotiators will be able to conclude an agreement, amid deep political divides in the government on Brexit.

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".

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