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Brexit negotiations to go ahead on Monday

15 June 2017 National News

Negotiations over Britain’s exit from the European Union will begin on Monday, the Government has confirmed.

Brexit Secretary David Davis and the European Commission’s chief negotiator Michel Barnier agreed during discussions in Brussels on Thursday to start formal talks over the UK’s departure on 19 June.

It had been suggested the start of negotiations could be delayed by the failure of any party to win a House of Commons majority at last week’s General Election.

The Conservatives are still negotiating with the Democratic Unionist Party over whether their 10 MPs will support the Tories’ minority government.

Earlier on Thursday, it was announced the uncertainty in Westminster had pushed back the Queen’s Speech – when the monarch announces the Government’s programme for the parliamentary session – from Monday to Wednesday next week.

But the Government will press ahead with the first round of Brexit talks two days before the official opening of Parliament.

In a joint statement, officials said: “Michel Barnier, the European Commission’s chief negotiator and David Davis, Secretary of State for Exiting the European Union, agreed today to launch Article 50 negotiations on Monday 19 June.”

The Prime Minister triggered Article 50, the legal process for leaving the EU, more than 11 weeks ago on 29 March.

Britain and the EU now have less than two years to conclude exit negotiations before the UK’s departure date at the end of March 2019.

The first round of talks are likely to focus on the UK’s so-called divorce bill, estimated to be as much as €100bn (£88bn), as well as the rights of EU citizens currently living in Britain and UK nationals living on the continent.

The Government are hoping to negotiate a trade deal with the EU within the two-year Article 50 process, but the bloc has warned “significant progress” must be made on divorce talks before a future trade relationship with the UK can be discussed.

Theresa May’s failure to win a majority at the General Election has led to suggestions her Brexit plan to leave the EU’s Single Market and Customs Union could be altered.

Earlier this week, in a joint press conference with Mrs May, French president .

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