Britain, EU to begin Brexit negotiations on Monday

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18 June, 2017

U.K. Brexit Secretary David Davis and his European counterpart Michel Barnier will open negotiations over Britain's split from the European Union on Monday, nearly a year after the country voted to leave. As the European Union has itself said, "nothing is agreed, until everything is agreed".

Nearly a year after Britain voted to leave its biggest market, the start of talks comes and amid signs the U.K.is softening its approach to the split and adopting a more conciliatory tone.

U.K. Prime Minister Theresa May's government has bowed to European Union demands to focus the initial stage of Brexit talks on settling the divorce rather than trying to arrange a future trade relationship at the same time, according to two EU officials with knowledge of the preparations.

While May has repeatedly said she wants a special and deep partnership with the club Britain joined in 1973, she has also laced her assurances with threats that a breakdown of talks could harm security cooperation. The outcome of the election might force her to seek a cross-party political consensus to agree on how the United Kingdom will leave the European Union.

The DUP, under Mrs Foster, is close to striking a deal with the Conservatives that would allow a beleaguered Theresa May to form a minority government in London. "They can't have it both ways, it has to be dealt with sensibly", she said.

"We want to see a Brexit that works for everybody, not just in Northern Ireland from my perspective but in the Republic of Ireland as well, so it is about a sensible Brexit", Foster told reporters.

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The first round of formal negotiations on Britain's withdrawal from the European Union will begin on June 19, it has been confirmed.

Since May's Conservative Party failed to win a majority in last week's general election, there has been a lot of debate over the impact on the Brexit discussions and whether the British government will be more open to compromising on some issues, like trade.

After voters rejected that request, the Brexit talks start Monday lacking clarity on what the exact nature of the UK's departure from Europe will be.

"As we set out in the Article 50 letter, our view is that withdrawal agreement and terms of the future relationship must be agreed alongside each other", a spokesman for the department, which is headed up by David Davis, said.

"We also respect the other parties' mandates, we want to get back to an executive that has all the parties around the table to collectively take decisions. But the withdrawal and future are intimately linked".

"My clear view, and I believe the view of the majority of people in Britain, is that we should prioritise protecting jobs, protecting economic growth, protecting prosperity as we enter those negotiations and take them forward", Hammond said.


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