Davis to de­mand more ‘flex­i­bil­ity’ from Brus­sels

Wales On Sunday - - NEWS -

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

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