While Barnier and Davies thrash out the larger issues, working groups on either side will focus on issues, including, recovering Britain’s budgetary dues to the EU, citizen’s rights, and other tidbits.
On Monday, when Britain’s Brexit Secretary David Davis meets his EU counterpart Michel Barnier In Brussel, he will officially kickstart negotiations for Britain’s formal withdrawal from the European Union.
It is largely expected that Barnier will press Davies on recovering Britain’s substantial dues to the EU and offer more details on Britain’s proposals.
Faced with little more than a year to settle Britain’s divorce terms with the EU, with or without a deal, leaders across the European Union expect British Prime Minister Theresa May to hold her flock of nations together, viz. Scotland, Ireland & Wales, so that a detailed plan can be hammered out minimizing economic and social impact of the divorce on the bloc.
Barnier and Davis are scheduled to shake hands for the cameras at the European Commission’s Berlaymont headquarters at 9:15 a.m. (0715 GMT) before the formal commencement of talks.
“We made a good start last month, and this week we’ll be getting into the real substance,” said Davis. “Protecting the rights of all our citizens is the priority for me going into this round and I’m clear that it’s something we must make real progress on.”
Barnier has however termed Britain’s offer as unrealistic stating that it falls far short of the EU demand that its 3 million citizens living in Britain be required to keep all their existing rights for life and have recourse to the EU courts to enforce those rights even after Britain leaves the bloc.
Last month, Barnier has managed to secure Davis’s consent to the bloc’s broad structure for negotiations and plans on holding his peer publicly responsible for everything else that has been agreed during the week, said EU officials.
The Brexit negotiations will have working groups who will focus on three areas – recovering Britain’s $70 billion (60 billion euros) dues to ongoing EU budgetary commitments; citizens’ rights; and other tidbits, which cover what happens to British goods in EU shops on Brexit Day.
A fourth set of talks, run by Barnier’s and Davis and deputies, Sabine Weyand and Oliver Robbins, will focus on curbing problems in Northern Ireland once a new EU land border separates the British province from EU member Ireland to the south. However some of this will be pending for want for further clarity on future trade relations.
For EU officials, one key milestone will be Britain’s acceptance of its monetary dues to the EU. The bloc wants Britain to stop challenging the principle it will owe Brussels money, although the exact amount will only be known until Britain actually leaves.
Already two British ministers of May’s cabinet who were on opposing sides of the Brexit referendum debate have both said they expect “some transitional phase to start in 2019 to smooth the passage from full EU membership to a final free trade pact”.