Top EU lawmaker says UK's aims a mystery

Top EU lawmaker says UK's aims a mystery

The EU wants to deal with the first phase of divorce talks before moving on next year to discuss trade, though EU officials acknowledge that the agreements to be reached before Britain leaves can only be concluded as a whole package simultaneously.

"We must first tackle the uncertainties caused by Brexit - first for citizens but also for the beneficiaries of the European Union policies and for the impact on borders, in particular Ireland", Barnier told reporters at the start of the talks.

"I hope today we can identify priorities and the timetable that would allow me to report to the European council later this week that we had a constructive start".

"I think the most important thing now is for us to look to the horizon, to raise our eyes to the horizon, think about the future, think about the new partnership - the deep and special partnership - that we want to build with our friends".

"Theres more that unites us than divides us, so while there will undoubtedly be challenging times ahead of us in the negotiations, we will do all that we can to ensure that we deliver a deal that works in the best interests of all citizens", Davis said.

United Kingdom negotiator David Davis says that Britain has gone into Brexit negotiations looking for a "positive and constructive tone" to deal with the myriad issues dividing both sides.

May officially triggered the two-year Brexit process in March when she was riding high in the opinion polls.

There are some contentious issues to address, some likely to lead to hot debates, particularly Britain's Brexit Bill, differing expectations from either side earlier in the year needing to be addressed and quite likely, early on, though following Theresa May's latest political nearly suicide of a snap General Election, the Tories will certainly be wanting to avoid paying out numbers thrown around by the European Union in early May, which stood around €100bn.

With her strategy unclear and her position insecure, Prime Minister Theresa May plunges this week into tortuous divorce talks with the European Union that will shape Britain's prosperity and global influence for generations to come.

Officials have made clear the Government still wants to negotiate its future trade relationship with the European Union alongside talks on Brexit terms. But the disastrous outcome of the June 8 snap election, which left her without a majority in the House of Commons, has raised doubts over whether she will even be able to see the two-year process through.

After the initial shock of last year's Brexit vote, the bloc at 27 appears to have steadied in recent months and got a real boost with the election of new French President Emmanuel Macron in May.

This comes amid concerns about the weakened state of the British government, which has no parliamentary majority, and its plans to shore up its mandate with a deal with the DUP party of Northern Irish unionists.

The head of the biggest group in the European Parliament says that what Britain wants out of the Brexit talks is a mystery as negotiations get underway.

"The best way we can spend this week is to rebuild trust", rather than tackle the big hard issues right at the start, another European source said.

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