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United Kingdom tries to parry claims it's unprepared in Brexit talks

United Kingdom tries to parry claims it's unprepared in Brexit talks

The government will this week publish the first of three discussion papers ahead of the next round of negotiations, scheduled to start August 28 in Brussels, Brexit Secretary David Davis's office said in a statement on Sunday.

The Department for Exiting the European Union said Sunday that it would release the first set of position papers this week, more than a year after Britons voted in a referendum to leave the European Union. The first of these will set out proposals for a new customs agreement, it said.

His gloomy assessment cast doubt on whether the talks will have made enough progress to begin discussions in the autumn on a new free trade deal between Britain and the EU.

The EU says those negotiations can't start until sufficient progress has been made on three initial issues: how much money the United Kingdom will have to pay to leave the bloc; whether security checks and customs duties will be instituted on the Irish border; and the status of EU nationals living in Britain.

Ireland's premier Leo Varadkar meanwhile has expressed his frustration at the failure so far of the UK Government to come up with firm proposals to ensure that there is no return to the "hard" border between the North and the Republic.

The British government wants to show progress so the broader negotiations can commence by October.

"I've launched this process because with time of the essence, we need to get on with negotiating the bigger issues around our future partnership to ensure we get a deal that delivers a strong United Kingdom and a strong EU", Davis said.

"I've launched this process because with time of the essence, we need to get on with negotiating the bigger issues around our future partnership to ensure we get a deal that delivers a strong United Kingdom and a strong EU".

As well the issue of the Irish border, the first set of new position papers will also cover continued availability of goods for the European Union and the United Kingdom, and confidentiality and access to official documents following the UK's withdrawal.

"It's what businesses across Europe have called on both sides to do and will demonstrate that the United Kingdom is ready for the job".