Fresh ‘Brexit’ talks launched
Bitter infighting grips UK govt
BRUSSELS, July 17, (Agencies): Britain and the EU vowed to get to the “heart of the matter” as they launched fresh Brexit talks in Brussels on Monday, even as bitter infighting gripped the British government.
Brexit minister David Davis met EU negotiator Michel Barnier for a second round of talks ahead of Britain’s historic withdrawal from the bloc, scheduled for March 2019.
But in London there was fresh turmoil as weakened Prime Minister Theresa May prepared to urge her warring ministers to end damaging leaks against each other over Brexit.
“Now it’s time to get down to work and make this a successful negotiation,” Davis told reporters as Barnier welcomed him to the headquarters of the European Commission.
During four days of talks the two sides hope to make progress on key issues surrounding Britain’s withdrawal, including citizens’ rights and its exit bill, so that negotiations can move on to discuss a future trade deal later this year.
“For us it’s incredibly important we now make good progress, that we negotiate through this and identify the differences so we can deal with them and identify the similarities so that we can reinforce them,” added Davis.
Barnier, who has repeatedly called on Britain to set out a full divorce strategy, said they needed to “examine and compare our respective positions in order to make good progress.”
“We’ll now delve into the heart of
it’s in the process of leaving.
After arriving at Warsaw’s airport, they were driven in a motorcade to meet President Andrzej Duda and First Lady Agata the matter,” Barnier, a former French foreign minister and European Commissioner, told reporters.
Davis however stayed only a few hours before returning to Britain for parliamentary business, officials said. He will come back to Brussels on Thursday for more talks with Barnier and a news conference.
Photographs of the brief meeting showed grim-faced EU negotiators with large sheaves of paper across a table from a grinning, empty handed British team.
Meanwhile, May will seek to reimpose order on her ministers after a series of damaging leaks pointing to cabinet splits on Brexit, her spokesman said Monday.
The Conservative leader will use Tuesday’s regular cabinet meeting to “remind” colleagues to keep their discussions private and urge them to focus on the job of government, he said.
Ahead of the resumption of key Brexit negotiations in Brussels on Monday, the weekend newspapers were filled with stories about warring ministers, as well as leaks targeting Finance Minister Philip Hammond.
“Cabinet must be able to hold discussions on government policy in private and the prime minister will be reminding her colleagues of that at the cabinet meeting tomorrow,” May’s spokesman said.
“She will just be reminding them of their responsibilities,” he said, adding
Kornhauser-Duda at the Presidential Palace for lunch.
According to the Polish hosts, the schedule of this “respect and friendship” visit that each minister’s job is to focus “on delivering for the British public.”
Hammond hit back Sunday, blaming the “noise” on rivals who disagreed with his position that Britain must be careful to prioritise the economy when it withdraws from the European Union.
But his words seemed only to fuel the fire, with an unnamed cabinet minister accusing him in Monday’s Daily Telegraph of trying to “frustrate” Brexit.
“What’s really going on is that the establishment, the Treasury, is trying to **** it up. They want to frustrate Brexit,” the minister said.
“This is a critical moment. That’s why we have to keep Theresa there. Otherwise the whole thing will fall apart.”
The minister said Hammond viewed Brexit supporters as “a bunch of smarmy pirates” who have “taken the establishment prisoner”.
In related news, did David Davis forget his notes? Or does he just have no ideas?
Pictures from Monday’s start of negotiations in Brussels that showed Britain’s Brexit minister facing his EU counterpart without notes or paperwork prompted jibes from critics who say a divided government is woefully unprepared for the process.
British media and Twitter commentators pounced on images taken as Davis and his team sat down opposite the European Union’s chief Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier; all three EU officials had thick piles of papers in front of them, while Davis, his lead negotiator and Britain’s EU ambassador had none.
includes a walk in the Old Town, a visit to the 1944 Warsaw Uprising Museum, where the pair will mix with World War II veterans. They will then have a meeting with representatives from Polish and British business.
In the evening, Prince William is to deliver a speech during a reception in the historic Lazienki Park in honor of his grandmother, Queen Elizabeth II. (AP)
Royal rowbarge at annual fest:
Queen Elizabeth II’s stately royal barge “Gloriana” found itself sharing the River Thames with some quirky upstarts at the weekend — amphibious motor cars.
As the rowbarge — an ornate, gold-leaf and crest-bedecked vessel powered by 18 rowers — oared its way down river like something from a Canaletto painting, a flotilla of small floating automobiles putted by in the other direction.
The poles-apart meeting took place at the Thames Traditional Boat Festival in Fawley Meadows outside Henley-onThames in southern England.
The annual festival also attracted clinker-built rowing boats, Edwardian steamboats, traditional slipper launches, wooden canoes and an armada of the “Little Ships” that braved the Channel in 1940 to rescue British and allied forces at Dunkirk. (RTRS)