EU, Britain possible to strike "fair deal": EU chief negotiator

EU, Britain possible to strike

EU, Britain possible to strike "fair deal": EU chief negotiator

A year after Britain's seismic referendum, Brexit minister David Davis and the European Union's French chief negotiator Michel Barnier will meet at the European Commission in Brussels.

"We have to clear accounts and we have to honor financial commitments", said Barnier, who spoke to reporters in English and French. "Then in the second step we will scope our future partnership". He said once there was sufficient progress on those, the talks would start looking at the EU's new relationship with Britain.

Davis said he was heartened by the spirit of the talks, during which the negotiators, both interested in mountaineering, exchanged a walking stick and a hiking book. Though less visibly upbeat than veteran Brexit campaigner Davis, Barnier insisted the two sides would work together for a "fair deal" that would not "punish" Britain.

While Davis has conceded on trade and divorce bill talks being carried out in parallel from the start, the issue of Ireland's border with the United Kingdom is playing out how he predicted.

While the European Union negotiating team led by Michel Barnier has been ready for months, Britain stalled even after it triggered the two-year process on March 29.

The Queen's Speech will be the first key test for Prime Minister Theresa May after she lost the Conservative majority in the general election.

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ET), began when a police squadron drove down the Champs-Elysses and an individual hit the first vehicle of the squad. Police had earlier warned people to avoid the neighborhood, one of the French capital's most popular with tourists.

And even when May finally triggered the two-year unraveling process on March 29, she followed it up by calling an early election on June 8 that she hoped would strengthen her majority in parliament and thus her negotiating mandate with the EU.

Johnson also urged Europeans to look further down the road.

European leaders have repeatedly said that the United Kingdom need not go through with its plans for divorce - although they have been tough about what a split would mean if it happens.

Germany's deputy foreign minister, Michael Roth, told RBB Inforadio that "we must of course protect our interests as the European Union 27 but naturally we also don't want to punish Britain". The group said any deal should minimize trade barriers and include a flexible immigration system. "But they'll find a different European Union than the one they left, an European Union with no special wishes, concessions and unnecessary complexity, but with more powers for Europe".

The issues at stake are daunting.

However, EU leaders are also said to be determined not to allow concessions to Britain that might encourage others to quit.

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Anxious by immigration and loss of sovereignty, Britons voted last June to become the first nation ever to leave the 28-nation EU. He added that "now, the hard work begins", Davis said, adding he wanted a deal that worked for both sides.

"So while there will undoubtedly be challenging times ahead of us in the negotiations we will do all that we can to ensure we deliver a deal that works in the best interests of all of our citizens".

On the European side, leaders have remained united that the U.K. can not have full access to European markets unless it also allows full access to its own.

Merkel spoke after meeting with Romanian President Klaus Iohannis, who also stressed the 27 European Union countries' unity.

"It was clear from the opening that both of us want to achieve the best possible outcome and the strongest possible partnership".

Though the basic outlines of a deal could be struck in the allotted time, he said, uncertain British politics could add a challenge.

Mr Davis said he was optimistic about the process and the British appeared upbeat about the prospects of trade talks beginning before the final details of divorce proceedings had been agreed.

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