David Davis and EU rule out soft Brexit on day one of negotiations
David Davis and the EU slammed the door on any prospect of a “soft” Brexit as formal negotiations on leaving the EU finally got underway in Brussels.
The Brexit Secretary confirmed Britain would be leaving the customs union and the single market, in a move designed to scupper any parliamentary plots to water down the terms of the UK’s withdrawal from Europe.
His counterpart, Michel Barnier, the EU’s chief Brexit negotiator, also confirmed that Britain would leave the single market and the customs union.
Such a unified public declaration of the intention to press ahead with a “hard” Brexit, sends a clear message to former Remain campaigners in Parliament who still hope membership of the customs union and the single market are up for grabs.
Britain has accepted the European Union’s timetable for leaving the bloc as the first day of formal negotiation for Brexit kicks off in Brussels.
EU chief negotiator Michel Barnier said the talks with Brexit minister David Davis had started on the right foot. The two officials agreed to discuss divorce priorities before they start negotiations on a future trade deal. The priorities include Britain’s estimated 112-billion dollar exit bill, the rights of EU citizens living in Britain, and the fate of the border with Northern Ireland. British Prime Minister Theresa May is scheduled to set out an offering position on the rights of Europeans living in Britain later this week.