World

Brexit talks begin in Brussels

Brexit talks begin in Brussels

A year post the Britain's vehement referendum, Brexit minister David Davis and the EU's French chief negotiator Michel Barnier met at the European Commission in Brussels on Monday.

Uncertainty surrounding the outcome of the Brexit talks - such as the possibility that Britain crashes out of the European Union with no deal - is also likely to make consumers cautious.

At one point, officials took a short break to smile and pose for photographs holding gifts.

Prime Minister Theresa May 's "strong and stable" election tagline, Davis, who is in Brussels to meet with his European Union counterpart Michel Barnier, said he was entering discussions in a "positive and constructive" manner.

Almost two decades after France and Britain, the EU's main military powers, helped form a common European foreign policy, the continent faces a growing range of security threats, from Islamic State militants to a more assertive, hostile Russian Federation that has seized territory in Ukraine. The talks are scheduled to take place for one week each month until an agreement is reached.

In short press statements, the EU's chief negotiator, Michel Barnier, said he hoped Monday's discussions can "identify priorities and timetable that would allow me to report...that we had a constructive opening of negotiations".

The move backfired, May lost her Conservative majority in the vote and has been fending off critics of her leadership ever since.

"I would have liked to have highlighted our economic record, and I think if we had focused on that we probably would have done better in the election than we did", Hammond told the BBC, echoing earlier comments to Reuters.

He and others have also raised the possibility that Britain could remain in the EU.




Whatever happens with interest rates and in the Brexit talks, credit ratings agency DBRS says uncertainty "is likely to adversely impact the economy and the fiscal accounts". "It's time to make fighting against terrorism efficient", she said.

European stocks rose on Monday, partly on optimism about the talks actually getting underway after months of sniping and uncertainty, analysts said. The same can be said for the wider 19-country eurozone economy, which grew by 0.6 per cent in the first three months of the year. "Let's stay together, let's not divide from each other", she said with reference to the remaining European Union 27 and the 19 euro zone countries.

"(Davis) has shown a "huge evolution", a Western diplomat said, adding that the Brexit minister seemed to be well on top of his brief.

Poroshenko, who returned from a trip to the United States, also said that he and U.S. President Donald Trump had "a very promising negotiation and coordination first of all about the sanctions". Currently, more than 3 million European Union citizens live in Britain, and 1 million British citizens live in other parts of the EU.

Yet Davis stressed that Britain would deliver certainty "as soon as possible" to European Union citizens living in Britain and to British citizens in the European Union, a common ground between the two sides.

The fate of an estimated three million Europeans living in Britain and around one million Britons living elsewhere in the EU was thrown into doubt by Britain's vote to leave the bloc past year. That agreement, which largely put a stop to decades of sectarian violence, dissolved any visible signs of border between the two.

"We have the Lancaster House speech, the two white papers and the article 50 letter, all backed up by a manifesto - and so it's the same as it was before", he said, reiterating that Britain will leave the single market and seek to set up a free trade arrangement with the EU. Ireland's leaders have warned that any new barriers could be a setback for peace.

"The pessimist see difficulty in every opportunity, the optimist sees opportunity in every difficulty".


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