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Merkel urges European Union to stick together after Brexit talks launched

European Union leaders have said they hope sufficient progress is made on the key divorce issues by the autumn to allow discussions to begin on the future trade and security relationship. The long-awaited talks began almost a year after the British people voted 52 to 48 to exit the European Union.

"While this will be a Government that consults and listens, we are clear that we are going to see Brexit through, working with Parliament, business, the devolved administrations and others to ensure a smooth and orderly withdrawal".

Davis said Prime Minister May will also set out at an EU summit on Thursday her proposals for the rights of the three million EU nationals living in Britain, and one million Britons in the EU, with the British government to publish a detailed offer next Monday.

British negotiators have capitulated to key European demands for a phased approach to Brexit talks, agreeing to park discussions on free trade until they have thrashed out the cost of the multibillion-euro United Kingdom divorce settlement.

"We must first tackle the uncertainties caused by Brexit", said Barnier, a former French minister, as he greeted Davis at the European Commission's Berlaymont Building headquarters. "The PM will give an update to the other member states on the UK's Brexit plans following the beginning of the negotiations this week", a Downing Street spokesman said.

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.

On day one of the negotiations on Monday, Prime Minister Theresa May's government gave in to European Union demands to discuss the terms of its divorce - including an exit fee - before any consideration of the trade deal Britain wants with Europe. We have taken the first, critical steps together. "The protection of the Good Friday agreement and the maintenance of the Common Travel Area are the most urgent issues to discuss", the European Union negotiator explained.

There will be one week of negotiations every month, with a pause in between for technical work and consultations.

"The most important thing I think now is for us to. think about the new partnership, the deep and special partnership that we want to build with our friends", said Johnson, who campaigned in last year's referendum to leave the EU.

THERE WAS no escaping the symbolism of the gifts exchanged by Brexit Secretary David Davis and European Union chief negotiator Michel Barnier at the start of the talks.

Theresa May's government had been banking on the opposition supporting the "Great Repeal Bill", which will transfer large swathes of European Union law into British law before the United Kingdom leaves the bloc.

Most of the attention will be paid to the negotiations on the future relationship with Ireland. "It's not about punishment, it is not about revenge", Barnier said. This uncompromising stance is "not about punishment" or "revenge", but simply a effect of Britain's decision to exit, he said.

"I would like us to get a good agreement that is in both sides' interests".



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