Published: Mon, June 19, 2017
Sci-tech | By Carrie Guzman

Finally, Britain kicks off Brexit negotiations with EU


Nearly a year since Britons voted to leave the European Union, Brexit talks finally open on Monday (June 19) amid confusion over just what the United Kingdom government wants from the divorce.

The European Union's Michel Barnier said he hoped the talks, starting nearly a year to the day after a British referendum vote to leave the EU, would establish a timetable to which the negotiations would be conducted.

May's government said it was "confident it can achieve a bold and ambitious deal that will work in the interest of the whole U.K".

The minister added: We want both sides to emerge strong and prosperous, capable of projecting our shared European values, leading in the world, and demonstrating our resolve to protect the security of our citizens.

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Brexit Secretary David Davis arrived in Brussels to launch talks he hoped would produce a "new, deep and special partnership" with the EU.

A spokesman for the Department for Exiting the European Union said: "We believe that the withdrawal process can not be concluded without the future relationship also being taken into account". It left an image of a dysfunctional Britain coming up against a well-oiled European Union negotiating machine.

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

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

"We are starting this negotiation 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", he said.

LONDON, June 19 (Reuters) - European stocks headed for their biggest rise in two months on Monday as investors snapped up cut-price retail and tech stocks and France's shares and bonds cheered a meaty parliamentary majority for pro-business President Emmanuel Macron.

Monday's talks however are likely to focus on the practical details of timings for the coming months, with the big, divisive issues left aside for now, officials said. He said that the other European Union countries have a united position but the British are "in chaos".

Yet 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 keep hearing that they don't want a 'Norway model, ' they don't want a 'Swiss model, ' they want to leave the customs union, the internal market, they want to limit migration.

Even May's own immediate political survival is in doubt, 10 days after she lost her majority in an election.

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