Published: Tue, June 20, 2017
Global Media | By Abel Hampton

Britain, EU to begin Brexit negotiations on Monday

UK Prime Minister Theresa May had hoped to enter negotiations with a strong bargaining hand, but the recent snap general elections have left her without a majority in Parliament and mired in talks between her Conservative Party and the minor Democratic Unionist Party of Northern Ireland in a bid to achieve a ruling pact.

European Union officials will start Brexit negotiations Monday based on the assumption that the United Kingdom still wants to leave the bloc completely as outlined by Prime Minister Theresa May before her election setback.

The announcement was agreed on Thursday between Brexit minister David Davis and the European Commission's chief negotiator Michel Barnier, the ministry said.

The Queen's Speech was delayed and will now take place on Wednesday. But the government will double the length of the session to let lawmakers debate Britain's approach to Brexit without interruption. "I don't assume a U-turn, I don't read the result of the election as a reversal of Brexit", the official said.

"We have our base in France, we have our building in France, we have our systems in France, we have our licences in France and the addition that we have to do for Brexit effort is marginal but Brexit is as well for us is an opportunity because.a lot of clients will come to us", said Assaf.

"We believe that the withdrawal process can not be concluded without the future relationship also being taken into account", the spokesman said.

Hammond, who favors a transitional period to help British companies adapt to life outside the European Union, made no mention of immigration.

Barnier this week acknowledged "sensitivity" in London at European Union suggestions that Britain might owe it some 60 billion euros in 2019 and said sorting out the issue soon would help a trade deal: "I would like to very quickly play down this question, and find concrete, pragmatic and just solutions", he said on Monday.

Economic data is beginning to lend extra weight to the argument for a different approach to Brexit.

"All the options are balanced and come with obligations", an European Union official working on Brexit said, noting that May had seemed to be looking for a sweeping free trade deal like that agreed past year with Canada but that some of those calling for "soft" Brexit cited arrangements such as those with Norway and Turkey.

The EU could demand that Britain pay a large upfront exit bill.

HSBC, Europe's biggest bank, has said it could move up to 1,000 investment bankers to Paris, where the bank has a licence and significant operations, in the event of a hard Brexit that would mean losing access to the single market. Only after that, in December at the earliest, but more likely next year, can negotiations commence on what Britain's future relationship with the bloc will look like.

- Mark Thompson contributed reporting.

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