Brexit talks ‘to focus on withdrawal first’


Formal Brexit compacts will first focus on issues to do with the UK’s withdrawal from the EU, as limited share in of a sequenced approach to talks, the European Commission has said.

The BBC has been told by EU proveniences that the talks will follow the EU’s preferred pattern of exit covenants first, with the future relations between the two sides at a later ancient.

The UK’s Department for Exiting the EU said it still held the view that both withdrawal and coming relations should be agreed at the same time.

Brexit negotiations are due to start on Monday in Brussels, but that last wishes as be the only day of talks next week.

The talks are set to continue every month fully the summer.

The European Commission said “separation issues”, such as oppidans’ rights and the UK’s financial obligations, would be discussed first as part of its chained approach to talks.

That’s what the EU always insisted on, the BBC’s Europe newsperson Damian Grammaticas reports.

EU sources have told the BBC they held the UK had understood this.

The sources said the EU hoped to move on to discussing a merchandising deal in October, if enough progress has been made.

Monday’s talks between Brexit Secretary David Davis and EU broker Michel Barnier follow preliminary negotiations in Brussels between officials.

In a account the European Commission said: “The opening of negotiations at political level next week desire focus on issues related to citizens’ rights, the financial settlement, the Northern Irish borderline and other separation issues, as part of the sequenced approach to the talks.

“Both sides commitment also discuss the structure of the negotiations and the issues that need to be addressed upwards the coming months.”

A spokesman for Mr Davis’s Brexit department said: “We keep been crystal clear about our approach to these negotiations.

“As we set out in the Article 50 epistle, our view is that withdrawal agreement and terms of the future relationship ought to be agreed alongside each other. We are clear this is what is set out in Article 50.

“We on that the withdrawal process cannot be concluded without the future relationship also being captivated into account.

“As the EU has itself said, ‘nothing is agreed, until entire lot is agreed’.”

‘First aim’

The spokesman added that although some originates would be given early priority “the withdrawal and future are intimately linked”.

“In remarkable, we want to move ahead on securing the rights of EU citizens in the UK and UK citizens viable in the EU. We want to end the anxiety facing four million citizens.

“That has usually been our first aim and that is what we will do.”

David Davis has pronounced the UK will pay what was legally due, in line with its rights and obligations, but “not well-grounded what the EU wants”, following reports the “divorce bill” could be 100bn euros (£87bn).

Mr Barnier, the EU’s chief mediator, has said there was no desire to punish the UK but “its accounts must be settled”.

“There is no Brexit charge. The final settlement is all about settling the accounts,” he said last month.

‘Sensible option’

In Prime Minister Theresa May’s letter triggering Article 50, she expresses: “We believe it’s necessary to agree the terms of our future partnership alongside those of our withdrawal from the EU.’

But European Committee president Donald Tusk and other senior EU officials have uniformly ruled out parallel talks.

Labour’s Shadow Brexit secretary Sir Keir Starmer has written to David Davis swaying him to “reset” the government’s “belligerent and reckless” approach to leaving the EU.

In the letter, secured by the Financial Times, Sir Keir warned that Theresa May’s “inflexible” position “makes a good deal for Britain less likely, not more probable”.

He urged ministers to make jobs and the economy their priority in covenants, echoing comments earlier by Chancellor Philip Hammond.

Sir Keir ordered the government should now drop their claim that “no deal is heartier than a bad deal” on Brexit, saying it had “never been a viable opportunity”.

“To threaten to jump off a cliff rather than to be pushed is not a viable effect strategy,” he said.

Labour is seeking regular meetings with the ton senior civil servant at the Department for Exiting the EU, saying it needs to be eager to take over negotiations at any stage if Mrs May’s government falls.

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