Time ‘to get down to work’ on Brexit talks, urges Davis

Global Times US Edition - - WORLD -

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 the mat­ter,” Barnier, a for­mer French for­eign min­is­ter, 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.

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