Nearly a year to the day after Britons voted to leave the European Union, Brexit talks finally begin at 11 a.m.in Brussels.
Brexit Secretary David Davis will meet with the European Commission’s chief negotiator Michel Barnier tomorrow morning.
The arch-federalist former Belgian PM, who this year published a book calling on EU states to forge “a more flawless Union”, warned last week Britain could lose its rebate and opt-outs if it changes its mind and decides to stay.
May (pictured below) has been under pressure over the consequences of leaving the European Union, but she has repeatedly said that there would be no change in the process.
The talks are starting on time despite chaos in London after Prime Minister Theresa May lost her parliamentary majority this month after a disastrous election result.
Underlining the difficulty of the task confronting May, The Sunday Telegraph reported the prime minister will face an immediate leadership challenge from eurosceptic lawmakers in her party if she seeks to water down her plans for Brexit.
The Conservatives now only have 317 seats in the 650-seat House of Commons and need the support of the DUP’s 10 MPs for a razor-thin majority.
Of course, remaining in the single market means accepting the four freedoms, namely the free movement of goods, capital, services, and yes, people, which have contributed to so much economic growth in the UK.
London-based banking giant HSBC said Friday that it would keep more jobs in Britain depending on the government’s approach to Brexit.
May’s chancellor Philip Hammond became the first distanced himself from May’s hardline position yesterday, saying that crashing out of the European Union without a deal would be “very, very bad” for Britain.
Britain, in turn, try to negotiate a bilateral free trade agreement as Prime Minister, Theresa may, intends to bring the country outside of the European internal market and the customs Union.
Flags of the European Union fly outside EU’s Europa building in Brussels. “That’s a statement of legal fact”, he said.
He also said that he wanted to take the opportunity to “ensure that a spotlight is shone on [the DUP’s] LGBT rights record here”.
They include the status and rights of European Union citizens living in the United Kingdom and British citizens living in the European Union, the financial commitments the European Union expects Britain to pay as it leaves – the so-called “exit bill”, and the question over the border between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland.
The EU wants to deal with the first phase of divorce talks before moving on next year to discuss trade, though EU officials acknowledge that the agreements to be reached before Britain leaves can only be concluded as a whole package simultaneously.
The EU says Britain must honour its contributions to the bloc’s budget, which has already been agreed up to 2020, as well as commitments to development programmes for poorer member states.
“It was a mistake for the campaign not to focus more on an area where we have a great story to tell – our record on the economy”, he said.
The British government plans to have the next Parliament hold a two-year session to deal with the expected onslaught of Brexit-related legislation.
International Trade Minister Liam Fox will be travelling to Washington on Monday to explore new trade ties – although no formal negotiations are possible until Britain has actually left the bloc.