Britain in 'good position' in Brexit talks: PM May's spokeswoman

Tetchy exchange Mr Davis and Mr Barnier

Barbs fly at Brexit talks by Aidan Radnedge Published

European Commission President Jean Claude Juncker has accused the UK Government of providing "no definitive response" to the border issue post-Brexit.

Defending the UK's position papers from criticism by Barnier, Davis said they were the product of "hard work and detailed thinking that has been going on behind the scenes" for the past year.

Juncker said the United Kingdom "hesitates showing all its cards" but added: "I did read, with the requisite attention, all the papers produced by Her Majesty's government and none of those is actually satisfactory".

At the same time, he said that relations with Russian Federation could develop "without renouncing our values and principles [such as] the annexation of Crimea and the rest".

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The British government is reportedly frustrated that the EU will not discuss the terms of the future EU-UK relationship until issues such as the "divorce bill" and the rights of EU citizens are settled. "The voters have voted to leave the European Union, and then not to have a government in a strong position to negotiate the exit".

Updating MEPs on the latest developments, Mr Verhofstadt said: "We need from both sides position papers on every issue before you can really start a negotiation".

The belief within May's government is that it is impossible to make "sufficient progress" on preliminary issues like the divorce bill without at the same time addressing what the future UK-EU relationship will look like.

The shift, announced by shadow Brexit secretary Keir Starmer, followed visits by Labour's top team to Brussels, leading to the conclusion that a bespoke transition deal was "highly unlikely".

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Barnier and British negotiator David Davis appeared at a short media briefing before they started negotiations.

"I believe we should reflect on better relations with Russian Federation".

The prime minister plans to tell the summit that Britain is willing to hand over a significant amount of money to Brussels as part of Brexit but only as part of a wider deal that'll allow it privileged access to the single market and a customs arrangement during a transitional period. But the bloc must avoid "falling into the trap" as the "responsibility is entirely on the Turkish side", he said.

The UK team say that the negotiations timetable is not flexible, while the excessive pressure from the European Union prevents a constructive discussion.

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