Date
11 December 2017
British Prime Minister Theresa May wants to speed up talks on future relations but the European Union insists on settling Brexit matters first. Photo: Reuters
British Prime Minister Theresa May wants to speed up talks on future relations but the European Union insists on settling Brexit matters first. Photo: Reuters

Britain pushes for talks about future, EU wants divorce first

British officials arrive in Brussels on Monday to push the EU towards talks about their post-Brexit ties, which the bloc refuses to do without an agreement first on London’s exit bill and other divorce issues, Reuters reports.

A third round of Brexit talks takes place more than a year after Britons voted in a referendum to leave the European Union, delivering an unprecedented blow to the post-World War II European integration.

Chief Brexit negotiators, the EU’s Michel Barnier and Britain’s David Davis, will meet before more talks on Tuesday and Wednesday convene on technical level on expatriate rights, divorce bill and “other separation issues”.

Senior officials will also tackle the conundrum of the future border between EU state Ireland and the United Kingdom’s Northern Ireland, and a news conference is due on Thursday, according to a schedule published by Brussels.

Britain will present in detail several papers released last week on issues ranging from customs arrangements to data sharing. They have often ventured out into the future relationship between London and what will become a 27-state EU.

Britain will be urging the bloc to show “imagination” and focus discussion on these future ties rather than just on the divorce settlement.

On Sunday, the opposition Labour Party said it would keep Britain in the European single market and customs union for a transitional period after Brexit, offering a clear alternative to the policies of Prime Minister Theresa May.

The bloc wants to settle chief separation aspects first and has already signaled the slow progress so far means jumpstarting talks about a new accord with Britain is now less likely in October, as had been expected.

“Both the UK and the EU have an interest to move forward quickly in negotiations and that requires us to make sufficient progress on citizens’ rights, on the financial settlement on Ireland,” said a senior EU official involved in the talks.

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