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EU's Barnier assures Britons of compromises on Brexit

21 Juin 2017

"It is clear from our discussions today, as it was from comments at the joint press conference yesterday with David Davis, UK Secretary of State for Exiting the European Union, that Ireland remains a key EU priority in the Brexit negotiations".

Liberal Democrat leader Tim Farron said: "David Davis said the row of the summer would be over the sequencing of Brexit talks, and one day in he has capitulated".

May, bruised by an election this month that cost her Conservatives their parliamentary majority, will make her case for a quick agreement on residency for EU nationals and employment rights at a summit of European leaders in the Belgian capital later this week.

"It was clear from the opening that both of us want to achieve the best possible outcome and the strongest possible partnership".

May sent a notification letter to the European Union in late March, triggering a two-year countdown to Britain's withdrawal of the bloc after more than 44 years of membership.

But in Britain many media portrayed Davis, a veteran Brexit campaigner, as having climbed down from his insistence that the European Union must immediately open talks on a future free trade agreement rather than limit negotiations, as they are now, to basic issues of the divorce, such as the rights of expatriate citizens.

Ireland's Minister for Foreign Affairs has said that the start of the Brexit negotiations in Brussels underlines the urgent need to restore power sharing in Northern Ireland.

A year after Britons shocked the continent by voting on June 23 to cut loose from their main export market, new debate within Prime Minister Theresa May's Cabinet on precisely what kind of trading relationship to pursue has perplexed European Union leaders, who warn time is tight to agree terms before Britain leaves in 2019.

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"In a first step, we will deal with the most pressing issues".

Mr Barnier said it was important to tackle uncertainties caused by Brexit.

"The four freedoms that give us the internal market must not be jeopardised", she said with reference to the EU's freedoms of movement of goods, capital, people, and services.

According to The Times, Labour is planning an alternative "workers Brexit" amendment to the speech, which is nearly certain to fail.

But there are easily enough Conservative MPs who want the PM to rule out a "No Deal" for a cross-party majority in the House of Commons. "It is not the other way around.So we each have to assume our responsibility and the consequences of our decision, and the consequences are substantial".

He added that the United Kingdom would seek to set up a free trade arrangement and a custom agreement. "It's not about punishment, it is not about revenge", Barnier said.

Representatives for the United Kingdom (U.K.) and the European Union (EU) kicked off Brexit negotiations in Brussels on June 19, nearly 12 weeks after Britain's prime minister triggered the mechanism that would let it depart from the EU.