Brexit begins without clear plan for UK exit from European Union
AFTER ALMOST an entire year of delay, confusion, criticism, and then a self-defeating UK snap election, the Tory Party has formally begun negotiations on exiting the European Union.
Minister for Brexit David Davis has entered discussions with EU counterpart Michel Barnier in Brussels, with an aim of establishing priorities for preliminary negotiations and to agree a timetable for the months ahead.
The two year window for full agreement then ratification of a Brexit deal was launched in March by Prime Minister Theresa May – but then faced further delay after she called a snap General Election leading to the loss of the Tory majority in the Westminster Parliament.
#Brexit -Art.50 negotiations begin today. We want maximum level of transparency. Rights of citizens, first priority. https://t.co/NWtdbj35XW pic.twitter.com/LIqx7NDYCM
— European Commission (@EU_Commission) June 19, 2017
With no government yet installed in the UK and building public outrage over May’s response to the Grenfell fire massacre, opponents have warned that the Tory administration is consumed by “chaos on every front”. There remain concerns that the Tory Government will not last the full two year negotiation timeline – which is expected, at first, to focus on EU citizens, the exit bill, and the position of Northern Ireland.
Davis called for “a deal like no other in history” ahead of the talks, which EU figures have said need to progress in good time to be completed before the March 2019 legal deadline in Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty.
In Scotland – which vote by 62 per cent to remain in the EU – criticism of the Tory approach has remained firm.
Scottish Government minister for Brexit talks with the UK Government, Michael Russell, referring to a further admission from leading pro-Brexit Tory minister Michael Gove, said: “Everything he and Brexit enthusiasts said in #EURef turned out to be false. UK now unstable and insecure and they are responsible for the chaos.”
#Brexit negotations formally start today. For the @Europarl_EN, safeguarding citizens’ rights is the absolute priority.
— Guy Verhofstadt (@GuyVerhofstadt) June 19, 2017
SNP Europe spokesperson Stephen Gethins said: “We now have a Tory government consumed by chaos on every front and any attempts to avoid parliament and the public in order to simply carry on regardless with a smokescreen Brexit is outrageous and utterly unsustainable.
“With Scotland’s economy, small and large businesses, key research facilities and around 80,000 jobs at risk, the Prime Minister must fully engage with the devolved administrations and with parliament in negotiations.”
European Parliament President Antonio Tajani and Brexit coordinator Guy Verhofstadt stressed the need to protect citizens in reaction to the start of negotiations on the UK’s withdrawal from the EU. Any withdrawal agreement requires the approval of the European Parliament to take effect.
President Tajani said: “The European Parliament’s position is clear. Preserving the rights of the millions of EU citizens affected by Brexit, securing the achievements of the Good Friday Agreement for Northern Ireland and honouring the financial commitments made by the British government will be indispensable in securing the European Parliament’s approval of a potential exit deal.”
Picture courtesy of katarina_dzurekova
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