Published: Mon, July 17, 2017
Global Media | By Garry Long

Brexit talks begin in earnest with citizens' rights in focus

Brexit talks begin in earnest with citizens' rights in focus

The second round of Brexit negotiations kicks off on Monday (17 July) in Brussels, focusing on the key issues of the divorce agreement.

A quarterly European Union summit in mid-October could see leaders tell Barnier to prepare trade negotiations; but that will require good progress this week and in three further rounds of talks.

The Cabinet minister added: "For us it's now incredibly important we make good progress, that we negotiate through this and identify the differences, so we can deal with them, and identify the similarities, and reinforce them".

"We need to examine and compare our respective positions in order to make good progress", he said.

The plans are for Davis and Barnier to shake hands in a photo opportunity at the European Commission's Berlaymont headquarters at 9:15 a.m. before the first full negotiation session.

On Thursday, the British government introduced a draft law that would formally end Britain's European Union membership, as preparation for eventually divorcing the bloc and gaining back legislation power of parliaments.

May faces the daunting task of navigating Brexit after being stripped of her majority in the House of Commons in June's election, while holding her Conservative government together amid squabbling ministers and talk of a potential putsch.

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May's spokesman told reporters on Monday that she would be "reminding her colleagues of that at the cabinet meeting tomorrow.of their responsibilities and making the point that ministers across government need to be focused on getting on with delivering what the British public wants". "Over the last few weeks, I've tried to advance ensuring that we achieve a Brexit that is focused on protecting our economy, protecting our jobs and making sure that we can have continued rising standards in the future". "This government is facing a ticking clock over the Brexit negotiations", Hammond said on Sunday.

He pointed to four categories where they needed to make progress on: "The issue of citizens' rights, the issue of finance, of separation and of course, separately, Northern Ireland".

Barnier's deputy, Sabine Weyand, and the permanent secretary of the United Kingdom department for exiting the EU, Olly Robbins, will focus on the issue of Ireland on Tuesday and meet regularly throughout the week.

"The European Parliament will reserve its right to reject any agreement that treats EU citizens less favourably than they are at present", the letter said.

For now, the EU says May's offer to guarantee the rights of 3 million Europeans in Britain falls short.

"I hope very much that people will look at the offer in the spirit it deserves".

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