COM­MENT

The Scotsman - - News Digest -

The UK has made a ma­jor con­ces­sion on the first day of Brexit talks, ac­cept­ing that a trade deal can only be dis­cussed af­ter a multi-bil­lion pound “di­vorce bill” is set­tled.

As re­cently as last week the govern­ment had in­sisted that trade talks could take place at the same time as dis­cus­sion of cit­i­zens’ rights, the North­ern Ir­ish bor­der, and fi­nan­cial set­tle­ments. And just over a month ago, Mr Davis said that the is­sue of how the talks would un­fold would be the “row of the sum­mer”.

But the point was ef­fec­tively con­ceded be­fore talks be­gan, with Mr Davis yes­ter­day ac­cept­ing an EU timetable set out last week, which makes clear trade will only be dis­cussed once “suf­fi­cient progress” is made on cit­i­zen­ship, North­ern Ire­land and a “sin­gle fi­nan­cial set­tle­ment” of as much as £88 bil­lion. Mr

“The United King­dom has de­cided to leave the Euro­pean Union, it is not the other way around”

MICHEL BARNIER

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