Britain, EU to begin Brexit negotiations on Monday

Posted June 16, 2017

The European continent is now witnessing more coalition governments than ever before as another one is apparent in the United Kingdom as the country woke up Friday morning with yet another hung Parliament.

But May's predecessor, David Cameron, said there would be pressure after last week's surprise for a "softer" Brexit that gave greater priority to a close trading deal with the EU.

Referring to speculation that negotiations could be extended until March 2019, Barnier said: "If we work seriously, I see neither the usefulness nor the interest of pushing back this date". This includes keeping access to the European single market of 500 million customers, the UK's biggest export market.

And how is that different to hard Brexit? During a visit to Mexico a day earlier, the German chancellor said she did not expect any significant delay in the talks between Britain and the EU.

The threat to take a year out of the already dwindling window for negotiations under article 50 of the Lisbon treaty illustrates the intense frustration felt in Brussels.

Anthony Wells of YouGov said: "While the majority of the British public still think the government should press on with leaving the European Union, they are far more finely balanced over whether it should go ahead with the sort of Brexit that Theresa May has set out".

Michel Barnier warned that no progress had been made on the "extraordinarily complex" talks since Theresa May invoked Article 50 in March.

Under the "hard Brexit" scenario, which has prevailed so far, Britain would leave the European single market and the customs union and curb EU immigration. Nevertheless, the final result could be either an acceptably soft and amicable Brexit, (leaving Britain in a close relationship with the European Union, such as Switzerland or Norway) - or an abandonment of the whole Brexit project after a second referendum.

Even senior Tories like the leader of the Scottish Conservatives, one of their few success stories at the moment, told us yesterday "it can't just be a Tory Brexit". "We want to negotiate quickly, we want to negotiate in the agreed time frame", Merkel said.

Many figures, like Michael Gove, have urged her to stick to her principles.

Conservatives and the DUP are committed to strengthening British unity, delivering Brexit, combating terrorism and delivering prosperity but "at the moment there isn t a deal", the source said.

The EU will keep the door open for Britain to return, but only on worse terms than it now has, European Parliament Brexit negotiator Guy Verhofstadt said Wednesday (14 June).

Barnier said: "All options are available and on the table".

Meanwhile, Scotttish Conservative leader Ruth Davidson - who bucked the pro-Labour anti-Conservative trend by winning 12 seats north of the border - has also said she wants "consensus within the country about what it means and what we seek to achieve as we leave".

But another key Corbyn ally, shadow business secretary Rebecca Long-Bailey, described it as a "moot point" for her party. And he asked: "Is the populist illusion to limit free movement of people more important than the prosperity and fortune of the British workers, the British industry, the British companies and the British economy?"