Davis to demand more ‘flexibility’ from Brussels
BREXIT Secretary David Davis is heading for a Brussels showdown, with a demand for the European Commission to be more “flexible” in negotiations on the UK’s withdrawal from the EU.
With the third round of formal talks beginning on Bank Holiday Monday in the Belgian capital, Mr Davis is pushing for EU negotiator Michel Barnier to be less rigid in his refusal to discuss the post-Brexit relationship between the UK and Europe.
Mr Barnier insists that progress must be made on key aspects of the withdrawal deal, including the UK’s “divorce bill”, ex-pat citizens’ rights and the Irish border, before there is any talk of future arrangements for crucial issues such as trade.
Leaders of the 27 remaining EU states will decide in October whether the divorce talks have got far enough to move on to the second phase.
But Mr Davis is expected to urge Brus- sels to show more “imagination” drive talks forward.
His Department for Exiting the EU (DExEU) has in the last week published a slew of papers setting out Britain’s vision for a “deep and special” future partnership, dealing with issues ranging from the role of the European Court of Justice to customs arrangements and data protection.
Officials said the documents showed that conversations about the exit deal to are inextricably linked with the shape of the future relationship.
And a UK Government source indicated that Mr Davis will warn Brussels not to “drag its feet” in discussions which must be completed by March 2019.
“This round of negotiations will focus on thrashing out the technical detail on important matters related to us leaving the EU, and will act as a stepping stone to more substantial talks in September,” said the source.
Brexit Secretary David Davis