UK official looking for 'positive' Brexit talks

UK official looking for 'positive' Brexit talks

Sigmar Gabriel also indicated a deal could be done on the jurisdiction of the European Court, allowing Theresa May to fulfil her pledge to end its jurisdiction while also meeting the EU's needs.

UK Brexit minister David Davis and EU Commission chief negotiator Michel Barnier will meet at the European Commission in Brussels to formally start the highly anticipated talks that will determine exactly how the divorce will work.

British Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson said Monday he still thinks that the Brexit negotiations will yield "a happy resolution that can be done with profit and honor for both sides".

These include the thorny issues of Britain's estimated 100-billion-euro ($112 billion) exit bill, the rights of European Union citizens living in Britain, and the fate of the border in Northern Ireland. The U.K. will exit the European Union in March 2019 unless all European Union nations agree to extend the negotiations.

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.

"We are. determined to build a strong and special partnership between ourselves, our European allies and friends".

It certainly is. Davis has said that while the United Kingdom is pulling out of the single market and the customs union and ending the free movement of labour, he wants an agreement that replicates as far as possible Britain's existing trade arrangements with the EU.

And even when May finally triggered the two-year unraveling process on March 29, she followed it up with an early election she counted on winning big, only to lose her majority in the June 8 poll.

Mr Davis prides himself on being able to think two steps ahead.

However, Britain's negotiating leverage is, arguably at its weakest level in more than a decade after a shambolic snap election result for Prime Minister Theresa May, which surrendered her parliamentary majority and has left her floundering to cut a deal with lawmakers in Northern Ireland in order to stabilize her government, and the ongoing weakness of the economy in the wake of the Brexit vote.

Britain's political instability has caused concerns in European capitals hoping to get the negotiations over with quickly and cleanly, as has May's oft-repeated threat to walk away from the talks without a deal if necessary.

Anxious by immigration and loss of sovereignty, Britain previous year voted to end its decades-old membership of the 28-country bloc - the first state ever to do so - in a shock referendum result.

Davis, a veteran campaigner against European Union membership, said he sought quick and substantive progress in what is scheduled to be a two-year negotiation before Britain leaves the EU. He said he views the talks with "informed optimism". However, other senior figures have threatened to force a vote of no confidence in her leadership if the plans are watered down. "And we want to try to solve the hard things as well as possible".

"In the first step, we will deal with the most pressing issues".

While "Brexiteers" like Davis have strongly backed May's proposed clean break with the single market and customs union, finance minister Philip Hammond and others have this month echoed calls by businesses for less of a "hard Brexit" and retaining closer customs ties.

"It's a statement of common sense that if we are going to radically change the way we work together, we need to get there via a slope, not a cliff edge".

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