Press Esc to close
Monday 26 June 2017
News updated at 7:09 PM IST

UK, EU kick off 'positive' Brexit talks

Agence France-Presse, Brussels, Jun 20 2017, 1:18 IST
The European Union's chief Brexit negotiator Michael Barnier and )Britain's Secretary of State for Exiting the European Union David Davis speak after first day of Brexit talks in Brussels. Reuters

The European Union's chief Brexit negotiator Michael Barnier and )Britain's Secretary of State for Exiting the European Union David Davis speak after first day of Brexit talks in Brussels. Reuters

Britain and the European Union finally began formal Brexit negotiations on Monday, vowing to work constructively for a deal despite disarray in London over whether to go for a “hard” or “soft” divorce.

Almost exactly a year after Britain’s seismic referendum to leave the bloc, the EU’s chief negotiator, Michel Barnier of France, welcomed his counterpart David Davis with a cheery handshake at the European Commission in Brussels.

The smiles belied the fact that at stake is not just Britain’s future but also Europe’s postwar political order and its place in the world, which could be fatally undermined without an agreement by the March 2019 deadline.

“We must first tackle the uncertainties caused by Brexit,” Barnier said, citing the rights of EU citizens in Britain and the possible impact on the open border between Northern Ireland and Ireland.

“I hope today we can identify priorities and a timetable that would allow me to report to the European Council (summit) later this week that we had a constructive opening of negotiations,” added the former European commissioner and French foreign minister, speaking against a backdrop of British and EU flags.

A key issue he did not mention was the EU’s bill for Britain to leave, which Brussels estimates at a colossal 100 billion euros. Davis, a prominent tough-talking figure in the “Leave” campaign, sounded a positive note, saying that while there would “undoubtedly be challenging times ahead” he wanted a good relationship with the EU. “There is more that unites us than divides us”, Davis said, referring to the latest reported terror attack overnight in London and the loss of lives in forest fires in Portugal.

“We launch negotiations in a positive and constructive tone, determined to build a strong and special partnership between ourselves and our European allies and friends in the future.”

European stocks rose partly on optimism about the talks on Monday after months of uncertainty, analysts said. In Berlin, German Chancellor Angela Merkel emphasised the unity of the remaining 27 EU countries, who have been alarmed in recent weeks by May's threats to walk out of the talks.

Go to Top

Photo Gallery
President Pranab Mukherjee receiving Eid greetings from various groups of people...

President Pranab Mukherjee receiving Eid greetings from various groups of people...

Prime Minister Narendra Modi being welcomed, on his arrival at Joint Base Andrews, Washington...

Prime Minister Narendra Modi being welcomed, on his arrival at Joint Base Andrews, Washington...

Senior CRPF and police officers carrying the coffin of SI/GD Sahab Shukla after wreath laying...

Senior CRPF and police officers carrying the coffin of SI/GD Sahab Shukla after wreath laying...

Senior BJP MLA Ghanshyam Tiwari stages 'satyagraha' against Rajasthan Chief Minister Vasundhara...

Senior BJP MLA Ghanshyam Tiwari stages 'satyagraha' against Rajasthan Chief Minister Vasundhara...

Hindu devotees pull the 'Rath' or the chariot of Lord Jagannath, during the annual Rath Yatra, or...

Hindu devotees pull the 'Rath' or the chariot of Lord Jagannath, during the annual Rath Yatra, or...

Acclaimed Odissi dancer Dona Ganguly's troupe performs during 46th ISKCON Rath Yatra of Lord...

Acclaimed Odissi dancer Dona Ganguly's troupe performs during 46th ISKCON Rath Yatra of Lord...

Switzerland's Roger Federer celebrates his victory in the final match against Germany's Alexander...

Switzerland's Roger Federer celebrates his victory in the final match against Germany's Alexander...

French Air Force Patrouille de France air demonstration teams take part in flying display during...

French Air Force Patrouille de France air demonstration teams take part in flying display during...

Penitents and costaleros of the Nuestro Padre Jesus Nazareno brotherhood carry a float bearing...

Penitents and costaleros of the Nuestro Padre Jesus Nazareno brotherhood carry a float bearing...

Over 10,000 Chinese yoga enthusiasts in Wuxi, a city near Shanghai in eastern China, took part in...

Over 10,000 Chinese yoga enthusiasts in Wuxi, a city near Shanghai in eastern China, took part in...

Like us on Facebook

Copyright 2017, The Printers (Mysore) Private Ltd., 75, M.G Road, Post Box 5331, Bengaluru - 560001
Tel: +91 (80) 25880000 Fax No. +91 (80) 25880523
Powered by Yodasoft Technologies Pvt. Ltd.