Britain, EU to start historic Brexit talks

Britain, EU to start historic Brexit talks

BRUSSELS — Talks on Britain leaving the European Union began Monday with both sides saying they will focus first on an orderly withdrawal: a deal for citizens living in each other's territory, border arrangements between Ireland and the United Kingdom and the amount that Britain will pay to get out of previous EU commitments.

The smiles belied the fact that at stake is not just Britain's future but also Europe's postwar political order and its place in the world, which could be fatally undermined without an agreement by the March 2019 deadline.

"To that end, we are starting this negotation in a positive and constructive tone, determined to build a strong and special partnership between ourselves and our European allies and friends for the future".

Mr Davis said there was more time spent on Ireland in Monday's talks than any other subject.

"I look forward to beginning work on that new future".

Britain now appears to have given in on the EU's insistence that the negotiations first focus on three key divorce issues, before moving on to the future EU-UK relationship and a possible trade deal.

The discussions in the meeting are expected to focus on the major divorce issues such as Britain's exit bill, which is estimated by Brussels at almost 100 billion euros or Dollars 112 billion, the rights concerning the three million EU nationals that stay in Britain, and the exit's impact on the one million Britons living across the European continent, and the status of operations in the states of Northern Ireland and Ireland.

Davis's agreement to Monday's agenda has led some European Union officials to believe that May's government may at last coming around to Brussels' view of how the negotiations should be run.

Reflecting on Britain's longtime European Union membership, Davis says that "there is more that unites us than divides us" despite the June 23, 2016 referendum in which Britain made a decision to break away from the 27 other member nations.

An increasingly concerned European Union has been pushing London to hurry up, with time running out for a deal and three months already passed since May triggered the two-year Article 50 European Union exit process.

European stocks rose on Monday, partly on optimism about the talks actually getting underway after months of sniping and uncertainty, analysts said.

Negotiators from the two sides agreed to go ahead with the originally-planned start date of June 19 despite the snap election called by May backfiring, leaving her with a minority government and questions over that government's ability to begin the talks.

"The aim of the new clause is to provide additional certainty for clients as the United Kingdom leaves the European Union", Chris Jones, director of legal and market services at the IUA, said in a statement.

He added that an orderly withdrawal was essential for both Britain and the EU.

Many in Brussels fear that London has no real strategy, with May under pressure at home, still trying to close a deal with a conservative Northern Ireland party to stay in power, and facing criticism for her handling of the aftermath of a devastating tower block fire.

"We have come together to urge the Government to put the economy first as it prepares to start formal negotiations on the UK's departure from the European Union". Instead, he will stress the importance of a "pragmatic" approach to negotiating transition periods and avoiding a cliff edge.

Germany's deputy foreign minister, Michael Roth, told RBB Inforadio that "we must of course protect our interests as the European Union 27 but naturally we also don't want to punish Britain".

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