Worldwide

Britain-EU Brexit talks to start Monday as planned

Britain-EU Brexit talks to start Monday as planned

The formal negotiations were already due to start on Monday but doubt was cast by the general election result and ongoing talks between the Conservatives and the Democratic Unionists.

If the chastened prime minister and Brexit Secretary David Davis take a gentler tone when talks finally launch in Brussels next week, they could win valuable concessions, some think.

May's plans included Britain's departure from the single market, as well as spelling out that no deal would be better than a bad deal, as far as the government was concerned.

Ms May's administration is pushing ahead with the speech despite not yet having cemented a deal with the Northern Irish DUP to prop up her minority of Tory MPs in the House of Commons.

But Mr Davis insisted the United Kingdom still wants to negotiate its future trade relationship with the European Union "alongside" talks on the terms for Brexit, which he said was the process set out in Article 50 of the European Union treaties.

Brexit Secretary David Davis will meet with the European Commission's chief negotiator Michel Barnier at 11am local time in Brussels on Monday to begin more than seven hours of official talks.

This is the question of the day: will Britain confirm its existing position, set out at the end of March, on the single market and the customs union at a summit next week?

Davis hopes for the European Union to agree to a cut-off date for those rights on March 29 this year, when the United Kingdom gave its formal notification of Brexit.

Chancellor Philip Hammond said the Government's priority in the negotiations should be to protect jobs, economic growth and prosperity.

"We are fully prepared and ready for negotiations to start", commission spokesman Alexander Winterstein told reporters.

Britain's Brexit ministry said on Friday that no deal could be struck on exiting unless the future relationship with the bloc was taken into account.

"Our view is that withdrawal agreement and terms of the future relationship must be agreed alongside each other".

"We believe that the withdrawal process can not be concluded without the future relationship also being taken into account. But the withdrawal and future are intimately linked".

Confirmation that the negotiations will start on time came as the EU's deputy Brexit negotiator Sabine Weyand held talks with United Kingdom officials in Brussels on Thursday - a meeting described by a European Commission official as "talks about talks".

The Department for Exiting the EU (DExEU) said it had been "crystal clear" about its approach to Brexit talks.