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Britain says no EU exit deal unless future relationship taken into account

19 June, 2017, 05:59 | Author: Nadine Todd

Brexit talks in Brussels on Monday will focus on the status of expats, the UK's "divorce bill" and the Northern Ireland border, rather than on future trade relations with the European Union, it has been confirmed.

"As we set out in the Article 50 letter, our view is that withdrawal agreement and terms of the future relationship must be agreed alongside each other", a spokesman for Britain's Brexit ministry said.

Fighting for her political survival, May has been trying to strike a deal with a small Northern Irish Protestant party to avoid a second election that could delay Brexit talks and damage the $2.5 trillion economy.

"If the Government cannot even secure a deal with the DUP, how on earth can they get a deal with the EU?"

A spokesperson for the UK's Brexit department said it expected both phases of the negotiations "to be agreed alongside each other", but did not deny that the talks would focus initially on divorce issues, including agreeing the UK's financial obligations.

Having lost a majority in parliament, May needs the DUP's 10 lawmakers to win any kind of vote, including on the pieces of legislation needed to enact Britain's divorce from the EU.

But the United Kingdom says Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty states "divorce talks" should take account of a departing member state's future relationship with the bloc.

A source in May's Conservative Party said talks continued on Friday.

A Conservative source confirmed that talks are due to begin next week, with officials at the Department for Exiting the European Union confirming that Mr Davis would be in the bloc's administrative centre for talks on Monday.

They will hold more than seven hours of official talks.

Mrs May's weakened position in the House of Commons as a result of losing her majority has fuelled speculation the Tories would be forced to soften their stance on Brexit.

Brexit Secretary David Davis will meet with the European Commission's chief negotiator Michel Barnier tomorrow morning.

Barnier speaks of a willingness to look at various options but EU officials also stress that greater access to EU markets will mean accepting greater costs, closer to EU membership, and question whether Britain can find a political consensus on that.

May wants to negotiate the divorce and the future trading relationship with the European Union before Britain leaves in March 2019, followed by what she calls a phased implementation process to give business time to prepare for the impact of the divorce.

Chancellor Philip Hammond said the Government's priority in the negotiations should be to protect jobs, economic growth and prosperity.

"My clear view and I believe the view of the majority of people in Great Britain is we should be protecting jobs, protecting economic growth and protecting prosperity", Chancellor of the Exchequer Hammond said as he arrived for regular talks with his European Union counterparts in Luxembourg.

"That is why we are pushing ahead with negotiations on Monday".

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