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David Davis off to Europe to establish 'positive' links with Brexit negotiators

Published 21/11/2016

Secretary of State for Exiting the European Union David Davis will travel to Brussels.
Secretary of State for Exiting the European Union David Davis will travel to Brussels.

Brexit Secretary David Davis has travelled to the continent in an effort to establish links with key players in the process of leaving the European Union.

The Cabinet minister held talks in Brussels with the official leading the negotiations and will travel to Strasbourg for talks with senior MEPs on Tuesday.

Mr Davis was using his visit to build bridges with the officials and politicians who will play a major role in the Brexit negotiations.

Officials said Mr Davis was signalling his "determination to approach negotiations in a spirit of goodwill".

In Brussels, Mr Davis met the European Commission's chief Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier to discuss an "orderly" withdrawal process, aides said.

In Strasbourg the Cabinet minister will meet Guy Verhofstadt, the European Parliament's Brexit negotiator, and a cross-party group of MEPs.

Mr Davis said: "I want to begin the work of ensuring we have positive, strong, and productive relationship with our closest neighbours.

"The people of the UK have made a clear decision to leave the EU, and that is one the Government will respect and implement.

"But Britain will continue to be the same outward-looking country that it has always been.

"I am confident that by working together we will be able to secure a deal that works in the mutual interests of the UK and the rest of the European Union."

Officials in Brussels described the meeting between Mr Barnier and Mr Davis as a "courtesy coffee" and said that negotiations on Brexit could not begin until Article 50 had been triggered.

A European Commission spokesman said: "Michel Barnier had a courtesy coffee today with Mr David Davis, at his request, to re-establish contact. They confirmed that there can be no negotiations before notification.

"They agreed to work towards an orderly withdrawal of the UK from the EU once the UK has notified the European Council of its intention to withdraw."

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