Davis calls for special partnership with Brussels as Brexit talks begin

Sinn Fein's Gerry Adams along with leader in the North Michelle O'Neill and deputy leader Mary Lou Mc Donald

Barnier said there was agreement that the negotiators would first look at citizen's rights, the outstanding bill Britain must pay for previous European Union commitments and the Irish border issue.

The EU's chief negotiator, France's Michel Barnier, welcomed his counterpart David Davis in the European Commission's landmark headquarters in central Brussels flanked by the EU and British flags.

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.

Reflecting on Britain's longtime European Union membership, Davis says that "there is more that unites us than divides us" despite the June 23, 2016 referendum in which Britain made a decision to break away from the 27 other member nations.

Davis was appointed Secretary of State for exiting the European Union on July 13, 2016, shortly after the shock result of the Brexit referendum. Priorities drawn up at the EU's insistenceThe two other priorities on the initial agenda - drawn up at the EU's insistence - are how to maintain a "soft" border between Northern Ireland and the Irish Republic after Brexit, and the UK's financial obligations to European institutions and programmes.

European People's Party caucus leader Manfred Weber told German radio station Bayern 2 Monday: "Our big problem is that we have no picture, no idea at all what the British want".

The rights of European Union nationals living in Britain - and those of Brits living in European Union states - is set to be one of the first items on the negotiation agenda.

He added: "The United Kingdom has made a decision to leave the European Union, it is not the other way around".

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When interviewed in Luxembourg last week he twice failed to confirm that Britain would leave the single market.

"We have to commit ourselves now mutually to guarantee rights to citizens on either side of the Channel so they can continue their lives as in the past", Mr Barnier said.

He said: "We have heard that even the British side has internally long since said that "We know we can't leave the table without paying the proper share of the bill". Austrian Foreign Minister Sebastian Kurz said: "If we don't succeed, both sides will lose". But a government spokesman in London said, "We believe that the withdrawal process can not be concluded without the future relationship also being taken into account".

He added: "Obviously this is the first day of the talks on Brexit and I think the most important thing is we should all start - of course there'll be lots of discussions about the nature of the deal we are going to do - but I think we should also enter on the discussion about money and so and so forth".

"First, we will need a new process for establishing regulatory requirements for cross-border business between the United Kingdom and EU. In the long run, this will be good for the United Kingdom and good for the rest of Europe".

Roth said that "Brexit is a very, very hard operation" and there's only a bit over a year to negotiate it.

But now he has dismissed speculation that he was that he wants to water down May's Brexit stance that Britain "cannot possibly" stay in the single market.

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