David Davis heads to Brussels to initiate Brexit negotiations

Jeff Overs/BBC handout via REUTERS

The secretary of state for leaving the European Union, David Davis, will today head to Brussels to begin Brexit negotiations with his counter-part Michel Barnier.

The first subject for negotiations will likely be the status and rights of EU citizens in the UK, and UK citizens in the EU, as well as the border with Northern Ireland and Britain’s financial commitments.

But today’s talks will mostly consist of agreeing on the procedure of negotiations and finalising the timetable. We’re not expecting any real progress in terms of Britain’s future relationship with the European Union.

Today’s talks will be the start of the most complex set of negotiations in the history of the world, and we will see many heated conflicts over the summer and following year.

Negotiations are expected to be initiated at 11:00 BST at the European Commission headquarters, followed by a joint press conference at the end of the day with Michel Barnier and David Davis.

Ahead of today’s negotiations, David Davis, Secretary of State for the European Union said: “As I head to Brussels to open official talks to leave the EU, there should be no doubt – we are leaving the European Union, and delivering on that historic referendum result.

“Now the hard work begins. We must secure a deal that works for all parts of the United Kingdom, and enables us to become a truly global Britain.

“Leaving gives us the opportunity to forge a bright new future for the UK – one where we are free to control our borders, pass our own laws and do what independent sovereign countries do.

“We will soon introduce bills for new immigration and customs arrangements, and the Great Repeal Bill will transpose all EU law into UK law, providing certainty for businesses.

“There has been a huge amount of work across Whitehall to prepare us for these talks, and make sure we get the best possible deal with the European Union.

“We are not turning our backs on Europe. It’s vital that the deal we strike allows both the UK and the EU to thrive, as part of the new deep and special partnership we want with our closest allies and friends.

“These talks will be difficult at points, but we will be approaching them in a constructive way.”

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