Brexit talks: Key issues looming over the historic Britain-EU negotiations

Merkel McAllister

Merkel McAllister

Mr Davis is expected to meet Mr Barnier at the Commission's headquarters in Belgian capital Brussels on Monday but it is not known how long the initial round of talks will last.

"I can confirm as we enter negotiations next week we will do so in a spirit of honest cooperation, taking a pragmatic approach, trying to find a solution that works for the United Kingdom and the European Union 27", he said, referring to the bloc's remaining 27 members.

Other EU governments will be happy to let Britain keep trade open as it would limit the hit to their own economies, officials told Reuters, though they are not ready to ease conditions that May would struggle to sell to her party's Brexit hardliners.

But Britain says it has been "crystal clear" that both withdrawal and future relations should be agreed at the same time.

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For Brussels, a concern with starting talks on such models would be that Brexit supporters might end up blocking them, raising the risk of time running out to get any deal: "Would you".

The Commission said the high-priority issue of the shared border between Northern Ireland, which is part of the United Kingdom, and Ireland, an European Union member, will also be discussed.

Prompted by her poor election showing, particularly among pro-EU young people who fear losses of jobs and opportunity for Brexit, some of her most senior ministers and two former Conservative prime ministers have called for a rethink.

The talks, which are to begin in Brussels on Monday June 19, "will focus on issues related to citizens' rights, the financial settlement, the Northern Irish border and other separation issues, as part of the sequenced approach to the talks", the European Commission said in a press release Friday, adding that "both sides will also discuss the structure of the negotiations and the issues that need to be addressed over the coming months". "It is the only way to unite the country and strengthen our bargaining power with the European Union".

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"I'm not going to give a blow by blow account of how we propose to take that discussion forward", he said.

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.

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

"My clear view, and I believe the view of the majority of people in Britain, is that we should prioritise protecting jobs, protecting economic growth, protecting prosperity as we enter those negotiations and take them forward", Hammond said."As we enter negotiations next week, we will do so in a spirit of cooperation, taking a pragmatic approach, trying to find a solution that works both for the United Kingdom and the European Union 27", he told reporters before a meeting of the 28 EU finance ministers in Luxembourg.

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