And so it begins: Brexit talks to focus 1st on orderly exit

Raf Casert - June 19, 2017

BRUSSELS — Talks on Britain leaving the European Union began Monday with both sides saying they will focus first on an orderly withdrawal: a deal for citizens living in each other’s territory, border arrangements between Ireland and the U.K. and the amount that Britain will pay to get out of previous EU commitments.

Both EU negotiator Michel Barnier and his British counterpart David Davis said after the first negotiating session they were confident of quick progress but said major challenges lay ahead to meet the deadline of March 2019 for Britain to officially leave the bloc.

“In the first step, we will deal with the most pressing issues. We must lift the uncertainty caused by Brexit,” said Barnier. “In a second step, we will scope our future partnership.”

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