David Davis demands EU shows 'flexibility and imagination' ahead of latest Brexit talks

Posted On: 
28th August 2017

David Davis will call on the European Union to show "flexibility and imagination" as he kicks off the latest round of Brexit negotiations in Brussels.

David Davis and Michel Barnier are at odds over a range of issues.
Credit: 
PA Images

The Brexit Secretary will say UK officials are "ready to roll up our sleeves and get down to work" in a bid to make progress in the discussions.

Both sides are at odds over the timetable of the talks, with the UK eager to move on to what Britain's future trading relationship with the EU will look like.

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However, Brussels insists that major progress must be made on the size of the UK's Brexit divorce bill, the Irish border and citizens' rights.

Mr Davis will fly to the Belgian capital this afternoon to meet Michel Barnier, the EU's top negotiator, before leaving his officials to take part in several days of intense talks.

The Brexit Secretary is expected to say: "We’ve had a busy few weeks. Since the last round of talks, the UK government has published a large number of papers covering important issues related to our withdrawal, and our vision for the deep and special partnership we want with the EU.

"They are products of the hard work and detailed thinking that has been going on behind the scenes and should form the basis of what I hope will be a constructive week of talks between the European Commission and the UK.

"For the UK, the week ahead is about driving forward the technical discussions across all the issues. We want to lock in the points where we agree, unpick the areas where we disagree, and make further progress on a range of issues.

"But in order to do that, we'll require flexibility and imagination from both sides."

He is expected to add: "Our goal remains the same. We want to agree a deal that works in the best interests of both the EU and the UK, and people and businesses right across Europe.

"And we're ready to roll up our sleeves and get down to work once more."

The talks will take place against the backdrop of Labour's dramatic Brexit shift, with the party calling for the UK to stay in the single market and customs union during any transitional period after Britain leaves the EU.