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EU’s Barnier Hopes to Remove Brexit Uncertainties as Talks Begin

These include the thorny issues of Britain’s estimated 100-billion-euro ($112 billion) exit bill, the rights of European Union citizens living in Britain, and the fate of the border in Northern Ireland. They agreed on the modalities of the negotiations, which will involve one week of talks a month, with the second round beginning on 17 July.Brexit Secretary David Davis had been pressing for the terms of the UK’s withdrawal and trading terms to be considered simultaneously.Widely under pressure, the European Union has been pursuing Britain to make a firm stance firm on Brexit, with time running out and three months bygone since Britain PM Theresa May put in force the two-year Article 50 European Union exit process. The country is set to leave the European Union by the end of March 2019.In their June 2016 referendum, the majority of the British citizens voted in favor of Brexit (51.9% to 48.1%).The U.K.’s Brexit Secretary David Davis said the British government was determined to “deliver a deal that works in the best interest of all citizens”.German Chancellor Angela Merkel leaves the German Industry Day, hosted by the BDI industry association, in Berlin, Germany, June 20, 2017.Mr Davis denied suggestions the agreed timetable showed Britain’s “weakness” and insisted it is “completely consistent” with the Government’s aim of parallel trade and exit talks.EU Commissioner for Internal Market and Services Michel Barnier (R) and the governor of the Bank of Finland, Erkki Liikanen, at a press conference in Brussels, Oct. 2, 2012.Barnier said the two sides will have one week of negotiation every month, and use the time in between to work on proposals and exchange them. “We start off on the right foot as the clock was ticking”, Mr Barnier said. In his first major comments in six weeks, he also said he wanted to see how the economy responded to the “reality of Brexit negotiations”.”If we can’t get a sellable deal on this issue, which is less problematic than others, then we might be in trouble”.Barnier said his priority was to clear up the uncertainties that the Brexit vote had created. We want to make sure that the withdrawal of the United Kingdom happens in an orderly manner.Three working groups have been set up, on citizens’ rights, the financial settlement, and other “separation” issues.He said there was a “very sensitive political context” given the looming deadline for forming a Northern Ireland Executive, the fact that a new Government is only recently in place in Dublin and the “ongoing political discussions” in London.With discontent in europhile Scotland and troubled Northern Ireland, which faces a new European Union border across the divided island, Brexit poses new threats to the integrity of the United Kingdom.Brussels is also resisting British demands for immediate talks on a future free trade arrangement.The British and EU Brexit negotiators agreed how to organise talks on Britain’s divorce at a first meeting in Brussels on Monday, where both sides stressed goodwill but also the huge complexity and tight deadline.