Brexit negotiations begin as chief EU, Britain negotiators underline constructive attitude

Before the Tories' election debacle, the Brexit secretary threatened to play hardball with Brussels, vowing to resist the EU's timetable of deferring trade talks until after progress was made on the divorce.

Mr Barnier said a "fair deal" was possible "and far better than no deal" and promised to work with, not against, the UK.

However, EU leaders are also said to be determined not to allow concessions to Britain that might encourage others to quit.

According to what both sides revealed during their first press conference on Monday afternoon at the Berlaymont, the "four-week negotiating model" is expected to give pace to talks and achieve results faster.

She added: "I hope that we will reach a good agreement. But the 27 of us will formulate our interests very clearly and hopefully, together", Merkel said.

In Berlin, German Chancellor Angela Merkel emphasised the unity of the remaining 27 European Union countries, who have been alarmed in recent weeks by May's threats to walk out of the talks. He noted the European Union wants to discuss divorce terms before moving on to the shape of its future relations with Britain. The June 19 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. It left an image of a dysfunctional Britain coming up against a well-oiled European Union negotiating machine.

"I will do all I can to put emotion to one side", Barnier said. The five bodies making the request are EEF, British Chambers of Commerce, Federation of Small Businesses, Confederation of British Industry and the Institute of Directors.

But he didn't mention the EU's third objective - for Britain to settle a bill of tens of billions of euros.

Davis said he was looking for a "positive and constructive tone" to deal with the myriad issues dividing both sides.

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

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Given that a disorderly departure would have greater impact on the United Kingdom economy than Europe's, officials have warned that Brussels would have the upper hand in several aspects of the talks because of the limited time available to conclude a wide-ranging exit deal.

He added: "The United Kingdom has chose to leave the European Union, it is not the other way around". Perhaps more important, they begin just 10 days after a humbling election setback revived divisions within May's government on what kind of relationship it wants with the EU. They should finally tell us what the aim is.

This includes preparations for new bills on customs and immigration.

"Then in the second step, we scope our future partnership; we also agree on how we structure our tools".

"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".

The talks mark the start of what will be one of the most politically sensitive global negotiations of modern times.

Johnson urged Europeans to look at the more distant future.

While the United Kingdom has said repeatedly that it wants out of the EU's single market and customs union - which offers tariff-free access to the EU, but requires countries to cede power to make their own trade deals - the DUP's manifesto says it wants a customs agreement and "arrangements to facilitate ease of movement of people, goods and services".

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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