Brexit talks to focus first on orderly exit

A member of protocol changes the EU and British flags prior to the arrival of EU Chief Brexit Negotiator Michel Barnier and British Secretary of State David Davis at EU headquarters in Brussels on Monday, June 19, 2017.

"Today we agreed on dates, we agreed on organization and we agreed on priorities for negotiations", Barnier told a joint press conference with British counterpart David Davis. "We are talking about a confidence and supply agreement with them", she said.

Both English and French will be used as working languages in negotiations and working documents, and the two sides have agreed a set of principles on the openness of their talks. He added that "now, the hard work begins", Davis said, adding he wanted a deal that worked for both sides.

The intervention comes after Brexit Secretary David Davis was seen to have been dealt a blow in the opening day of withdrawal negotiations with the European Union, after it was agreed trade deal talks would not begin until October at the earliest.

The two men discussed the possibility of laying the groundwork for a new potential trade agreement between the United Kingdom and U.S. after Brexit.

Those issues are the exit bill; the rights of three million European Union nationals living in Britain and the one million Britons on the continent who now are allowed to live, work and claim welfare benefits; and the status of the border between Northern Ireland and Ireland.

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Ms May, whose future is uncertain after she lost her Conservative majority in an election this month, has insisted that trade talks start immediately and run in parallel.

"The United Kingdom has chose to leave the European Union, it is not the other way around", Mr Barnier said.

Both Gabriel and Verhofstadt said that they hoped May's election fiasco would encourage Britain to pursue a "soft Brexit" preserving as many ties with the European Union as possible.

"It's been a year since the referendum".

Anxious by immigration and loss of sovereignty, Britons voted last June to become the first nation ever to leave the 28-nation EU. Led by Germany, Brussels had insisted from the beginning that Britain's decision past year to leave Europe clearly meant it was leaving Europe, with all the attendant privileges. Austrian Foreign Minister Sebastian Kurz said: "If we don't succeed, both sides will lose".

He also reassured: "We will never work against the United Kingdom".

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"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".

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

"Given the range of political and technical issues at stake, I think this very much justifies our dialogue and the dialogue should indeed represent a safeguard to all concerned that we are very much committed to this as a priority", Mr Barnier said.

Macron, a committed pro-EU leader and ally of Merkel, also easily won French legislative elections on Sunday, cementing his power base.

"N. Ireland has taken more time today than anything else", said Davis on UK's behalf reminding that the issue is politically sensitive, just to add that determining an invisible border is the point. "It's good that the British government is thinking about the rights of European Union citizens in Great Britain", he told Welt.

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