Second round of Brexit talks to get under way

UK Secretary of State for Exiting the European Union David Davis gives a statement at the start of a first full round of talks on Britain's divorce terms from the European Union in Brussels Belgium

"The plenary meetings [of the Brexit talks] will show us whether there is a realistic basis for agreement or whether the British government can not move at all because of its own problems", said Elmar Brok, a German centre-right MEP who helps coordinate the European parliament's position on Brexit.

Mr Barnier said: "I look forward to our negotiations this week". We'll now delve into the heart of the matter.

'We need to examine and compare our respective positions in order to make good progress'.

Working groups on citizens' rights, the financial settlement and "other separation issues", such as the jurisdiction of the EU's top court, will begin talks on Monday and continue work for the next four days.

The proposal to grant EU nationals "settled status", effectively indefinite leave to remain, was immediately dismissed by European Council President Donald Tusk as "below our expectations". The U.K.'s Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson said last week that the European Union could go whistle if it thought that the U.K. would pay a large sum.

While we know the issue of the Irish border is high on the agenda for these discussions, the weeks since the last round of talks have seen a number of public clashes between United Kingdom and European Union leaders which are sure to be mentioned this week. Barnier appeared exasperated last week as he said the U.K.'s offer on citizens reduced their current level of rights, and said he was astounded that some members of the British government still didn't accept that the country has to pay its dues.

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"We made a good start last month, and this week we'll be getting into the real substance", Davis was quoted by Reuters as saying ahead of the meeting.

"For us it's incredibly important we now make good progress".

The talks are taking place against a backdrop of increasingly bitter and public feuding among United Kingdom ministers over the Government's Brexit strategy.

The depth of division among Prime Minister Theresa May's ministers was highlighted over the weekend as Hammond was accused of using the Treasury to "frustrate" the Brexit process.

Monday's talks, however, come amid signs of increasingly serious splits within the United Kingdom government over the preferred approach to the talks, with the chancellor, Philip Hammond, complaining on Sunday that he was being briefed against by fellow ministers opposed to his pro-business focus.

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