EU Parliament President: Any Delay in Brexit Negotiations With UK Impossible

Leaked memo France sees Brexit as tool to weaken City of London

As Brexit Secretary David Davis sat down for talks with the EU's chief negotiator Michel Barnier a war of words had broken out between Britain's Finance Minister Philip Hammond and ideologues in the government who want a "hard" exit from the bloc.

In Brussels, Davis acknowledged it was "incredibly important" to make progress, "that we negotiate through this and identify the differences so that we can deal with them and identify the similarities so that we can reinforce them".

"We need to examine and compare our respective positions in order to make good progress", he said.

It's the second such meeting - the first round in June saw Britain concede to the EU's demand to first focus on discussing citizens' rights, the Irish border and a financial settlement. Some of that will have to wait for clarity on future trade relations. "And you can understand why". But in a mark of the cross-Channel gulf in perceptions, many in London have questioned the need for a transition, during which Britain would have to follow European Union rules and pay into the Brussels budget. Barnier and Davis are to brief the media on Thursday, when they would give political endorsement to whatever officials have managed to agree.

However, the biggest sticking point Davis and counterpart Michel Barnier are likely to face behind closed doors is the future role of the European court of justice, given Theresa May has vowed to take the United Kingdom out of its jurisdiction. Even so, she rejected his pleas to make an unconditional pledge on their rights. Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson, attending a different meeting in Brussels, passed up an opportunity to deny that was the case. "I think we're now working first and foremost on schedules". "We're not going to be talking a couple of months, we are going to be talking a couple of years".

EU negotiators want to be able to impose huge fines on Britain for breaking European laws for years after Brexit, it has emerged.

The infighting goes further than Brexit. Johnson is among ministers who've suggested the Treasury's cap on public-sector pay should be eased.

Asked how important it was to finalize revision of the WTO terms of membership before the European Union and Britain formally divorce, the source said: "I have the impression that the United Kingdom believes that is important". May has vowed to pull out of the single market and cut immigration to the "tens of thousands". She also wants to ensure that any disputes over European Union citizens' rights are settled by British courts, not judges in Luxembourg.

The UK food system is "like the rabbit caught in the headlights, with no goals, no leadership and eviscerated key ministries", the academics wrote.

However, Gus O'Donnell, Britain's former top civil servant, said the chances of a smooth Brexit were at risk.

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