ibusinesslines.com June 27, 2017

UK Finance Minister Hammond Seeks 'Pragmatic' Brexit

19 June 2017, 06:44 | Erica Roy

Michel Barnier the European Commission's chief Brexit negotiator said"I can't negotiate with myself

Michel Barnier the European Commission's chief Brexit negotiator said

With divorce talks between the United Kingdom and European Union set to start on Monday, Hammond said in Luxembourg on Friday that he sided with "the majority of people in Britain" who want to prioritize economic security in the negotiations.

While she is ultimately expected to reach a deal, a source in the Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) told Reuters that an agreement to support her minority government was not likely before next week.

The EU has insisted that this sequence involve sorting out Britain's departure and urgent issues like the rights of citizens affected by Brexit before the shape of future ties or trade are discussed.

Asked if he was now accepting Brussels' timetable, as set out by chief negotiator Michel Barnier, Mr Davis said: "What we have said is we will start down this process but I will have some discussions with Mr Barnier about how we progress to the wider thing of the trade area".

Some Conservatives have called for a more inclusive approach that would include opposition parties as well as stronger voices from Scotland and Northern Ireland, where a majority of voters backed Britain to stay in the EU.

But his planned address was postponed because of the Grenfell Tower fire tragedy.

Scottish Conservative leader Ruth Davidson, who is newly influential after winning a crucial 13 seats in Scotland, has said Britain should prioritise "freedom to trade and our economic growth".

But speculating now on different kinds of trade pact - on "soft Brexit" or "hard" - is to put cart before horse, they say.

"If we're going to radically change the way we work together, we need to get there via a slope, not via a cliff edge", he said.

Brussels has insisted talks on the so-called divorce, taking in issues including the fee the United Kingdom will have to pay to sever its ties, must make sufficient progress before any discussion on a future trade agreement could begin.

But finance minister Philip Hammond confirmed Sunday that Britain would still be leaving the EU, the single market and the customs union.

And Hammond described the divorce bill figures being bandied around in Brussels as "the most egregious pre-negotiation posturing".

A parliamentary session usually runs for a year, from spring to spring. "We will negotiate in good faith but it is a negotiation, we recognize there will be an exchange of views and we will take that forward in a spirit of genuine cooperation".

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