The Guardian - - NATIONAL BREXIT - Jen­nifer Rankin Brus­sels What hap­pens first? When can Bri­tain talk about trade?

With a hand­shake for the cam­eras, David Davis, the Brexit sec­re­tary, and Michel Barnier, the EU’s chief ne­go­tia­tor, will to­day be­gin a tech­ni­cally ar­du­ous jour­ney that will seal Bri­tain’s fate for decades to come. Deal or no deal, the UK will leave the EU on 29 March 2019. But Barnier hopes to con­clude talks in Oc­to­ber 2018, to al­low time for the Euro­pean par­lia­ment to rat­ify the deal. For Brus­sels, Brexit is like a mar­i­tal break­down: first comes the di­vorce, then the new re­la­tion­ship. As far as the EU is con­cerned, the UK will not be al­lowed to start trade talks un­til it agrees an out­line deal on cit­i­zens’ rights, money and the Ir­ish bor­der. Be­fore the Tories’ dis­as­trous elec­tion, David Davis vowed to con­test this se­quence. But the UK has a weak hand and is ex­pected to con­cede this point. Barnier can­not start trade talks with­out a fresh man­date from EU lead­ers. EU27 diplo­mats have never dis­cussed a new man­date and have no in­ten­tion of do­ing so. Some Brus­sels ob­servers think the EU is

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