EU, UK fix date to begin Brexit negotiations

Bruno Cirelli
Giugno 20, 2017

May's Conservative Party, which failed to win a majority in an election last week, has been holding talks with the DUP on securing the support of its 10 members of parliament to pass legislation. A senior Conservative source said: "We are making a lot of progress, it's all being done in the spirit of cooperation, with a real focus on strengthening the union and providing stability at this time".

At least six people died and dozens were injured when a massive fire tore through a 24-storey London apartment block overnight, a fresh blow to the capital less than two weeks after the London Bridge terror attack.

Commenting on the proposed DUP-Conservative deal, Sinn Féin MP Elisha McCallion said her party's priority was "defending the Good Friday Agreement, protecting our public services and establishing an executive based on equality and respect".

Sinn Fein's Stormont leader Michelle O'Neill said: "I will be making it very clear that any deal between the Tories and the DUP can not be allowed to undermine the Good Friday and subsequent agreements".

The European Parliament's Brexit negotiator, Guy Verhofstadt, also expressed his frustration.

"The first phase of the negotiations will tackle three main areas: safeguarding the rights of citizens, financial settlement of the UK's obligations and the new external borders of the European Union", the Commission said.

"Like Alice in Wonderland, not all the doors are the same".

The first round of Brexit talks will begin two days before a meeting of European Union leaders in Brussels on 22 and 23 June.

She will have to manage conflicting demands from within her own party, including a proposal for business groups and lawmakers from all parties to agree a national position.

Former prime minister Mr Cameron said Mrs May would have to change her approach to Brexit as a result of the election. The performance of the British economy could also influence perceptions: Data on Wednesday showed average weekly pay in the three months to April was down 0.4 percent, year-on-year, in inflation-adjusted terms - the biggest fall since the three months to September 2014.

Both sides had hoped that a deal would be announced on Wednesday.

And some fear the viability of Northern Ireland's fragile peace - which has held since 1998 after decades of inter-community violence known as The Troubles - could rest on the arrangement, with doubts around the United Kingdom government's neutrality.

But Irish nationalists Sinn Fein have voiced concerns a tie-up could destabilise politics in Northern Ireland and undermine the British government's neutrality in overseeing talks to form a new power-sharing government for the province.

But the Government will press ahead with the first round of Brexit talks two days before the official opening of Parliament.

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