EU gives Barnier green light to start Brexit talks from June 19

EU gives Barnier green light to start Brexit talks from June 19

PanARMENIAN.Net - EU ministers on Monday, May 22 unanimously gave Michel Barnier the green light to start Brexit talks, with the Frenchman hoping to sit at the table from June 19 after Britain's general election, AFP reveals.

Barnier said the backing of the remaining 27 countries was a further show of "determination and confidence" in what promise to be two years of bruising negotiations with London.

The former European commissioner and French foreign minister also warned his British counterpart David Davis against further threats to walk away from the talks if Brussels pushes a reported 100-billion-euro ($112-billion) divorce bill.

"We are ready and well prepared. We have a clear mandate supported by all 27 EU member states," Barnier told a news conference after EU ministers formally approved his tough negotiating mandate for the talks.

Barnier said the EU's new Brexit team would meet on Tuesday to finalise its negotiating position, which would be sent "very quickly" to London after the June 8 election in which Prime Minister Theresa May is seeking to strengthen her own mandate.

"I hope to organise the first round of negotiations as soon as possible, hopefully in the week of the 19th of June," Barnier said.

The EU insists on making "sufficient progress" on three key divorce issues before talks can start on a future UK-EU trade deal. These are the rights of EU citizens in Britain and British citizens on the continent; London's exit bill; and arrangements for the border between Ireland and the British province of Northern Ireland.

Britain however wants the divorce settlement and the future relationship to be discussed in parallel.

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