Britain, EU begin formal Brexit talks


But the government still wants to negotiate its future trade relationship with the European Union "alongside" talks on the terms for Brexit.

The document released after the first day of discussion on "Terms of Reference for the Article 50 TEU negotiations" stated: "The following initial negotiating groups have been established: Citizens' rights; Financial Settlement; Other Separation issues".

"If you ask me, 'Are we going to make concessions?' I must tell you that it is the United Kingdom leaving the EU, the single market, the customs union and not the other way around", the former European commissioner and French foreign minister told a joint press conference with Mr Davis, AFP reported. Davis gave Barnier a book about hiking.

Representatives for the United Kingdom (U.K.) and the European Union (EU) kicked off Brexit negotiations in Brussels on June 19, nearly 12 weeks after Britain's prime minister triggered the mechanism that would let it depart from the EU.

The country is set to leave the European Union by the end of March 2019.

The agenda for the meeting was agreed earlier this month following preparatory "talks about talks".

Following the first day talk Barnier said, "It was very important and useful to start off on the right foot as the clock is ticking".

The June 2016 Brexit vote in the hotly contested referendum exposed deep division across the country.

But instead she lost her parliamentary majority, putting that hard-line approach and her political future in doubt after the disastrous June 8 election.

But Germany hinted they would back a soft Brexit. We also agreed on how we will structure our talks.

When one interviewer asked if he had been locked in a cupboard during the campaign by May´s aides, he said with a smirk: "Not quite in a cupboard".

"I would have liked to have highlighted our economic record, and I think if we had focused on that we probably would have done better in the election than we did", Hammond told the BBC, echoing earlier comments to Reuters.

"In Europe, I never have illusions because I don't want to lose them", Juncker said.

Britain and the EU have agreed on the priorities and timetable for Brexit negotiations after the first session of talks on Monday, EU pointman Michel Barnier said.

May had previously refused to guarantee the rights of European Union citizens in Britain until those of expatriate Britons were secured.

London will then make a detailed proposal next week, Davis said.

European Union diplomats hope this first meeting, and a Brussels summit on Thursday and Friday where Theresa May will meet fellow European Union leaders, will improve the mood after some spiky exchanges. Davis said that the two sides already have similar positions.

And, turning Ms May's "no deal is better than a bad deal" threat against her, Mr Barnier added: "A fair deal is possible and far better than no deal". That agreement, which largely put a stop to decades of sectarian violence, dissolved any visible signs of border between the two. Ireland's leaders have warned that any new barriers could be a setback for peace. "And so bridging between Churchill and Monnet I am certainly a determined optimist".