Good start, not enough: European Union leaders mull May's Brexit offer

Good start, not enough: European Union leaders mull May's Brexit offer

Both EU negotiator Michel Barnier and his United Kingdom counterpart David Davis said they were heartened by the first day of talks on Monday and insisted the tight deadlines were tough but achievable.

"This first session was useful, we start off on the right foot as the clock is ticking", he said during a joint press conference with Mr Davis.

"The risk of the exit negotiations with Britain is that we do not take adequate care of our own future".

The two sides agreed to set up three working groups covering the details of withdrawal: the financial settlement; citizens' rights; and one dealing with other legal issues relating to "separation".

European Union leaders hope May will build on the positive atmosphere officials reported at the first encounter on Monday of the two sides' Brexit negotiators - and that she will avoid campaign rhetoric and threats to walk out of the European Union without settling outstanding issues in a proper treaty.

"I will display a constructive attitude firmly based on the interests and support of the 27".

It has led to calls from within the Conservative Party and business community for a softer Brexit where the mantra of "no deal is better than a bad deal" is laid to rest and the focus shifts to the economy and jobs with some calling for the United Kingdom to remain in both the single market and the customs union.

Davis insisted that talks about trade would occur "in parallel", but Barnier said they would start only in a second phase.

David Davis concedes that trade talks cannot begin before Brexit divorce talks.

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. "And so bridging between Churchill and Monnet, I am certainly a determined optimist".

Reflecting confusion on the continent about what kind of Brexit she will ask for, Tusk said ahead of a separate meeting with May: "We can hear different predictions, coming from different people, about the possible outcome of these negotiations: hard Brexit, soft Brexit or no deal".

He explained that Theresa May, the Prime Minister, would brief fellow European Union leaders at a summit on Thursday on the UK's approach to the rights of expatriate citizens, which will be set out in detail in a paper on Monday. "Of course one can think about a common finance minister if the conditions are in place and if we do not mutualise in the wrong areas", she said.

European Union leaders are meeting in Brussels on Thursday and Friday to discuss a broad range of issues from defence and security, to Brexit, trade, climate and migration. "There is a long, long way to go for negotiations". "We have taken the first critical steps together; now we have a shared responsibility to deliver quick and substantive progress", he said.

That 8 of June vote which shockingly lead to a hung parliament must be haunting Theresa May, who made the decision to call a snap election.

"Listen, if people want to trade with us, they will trade with us".

There will be a "two-phased" negotiation, with divorce terms to be set first before talks on future trade relations.

She would also offer any European Union citizen resident for five years - at some cut-off date - the opportunity to get settled status, a new category which would treat them as if they were British citizens for healthcare, education, benefits and pensions.

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