Britain kicks off Brexit negotiations with EU

Arriving in Brussels on the first day of Brexit negotiations today, the Brexit secretary told the Press Association we UK's negotiating team was starting talks in a "positive and constructive tone".

However, Britain's negotiating leverage is, arguably at its weakest level in more than a decade after a shambolic snap election result for Prime Minister Theresa May, which surrendered her parliamentary majority and has left her floundering to cut a deal with lawmakers in Northern Ireland in order to stabilize her government, and the ongoing weakness of the economy in the wake of the Brexit vote.

Their first task must be to "tackle the uncertainties caused by Brexit", he said, citing the rights of European Union citizens in Britain and the possible impact on the open border between Northern Ireland and the republic.

"Our big problem is that we have no picture, no idea at all, what the British want", said German Manfred Weber, the head of the EPP Christian Democrat group in the European Parliament.

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United Kingdom negotiator David Davis says that Britain has gone into Brexit negotiations looking for a "positive and constructive tone" to deal with the myriad issues dividing both sides. Looking more sombre than his British counterpart, he said he hoped they could agree a format and timetable on Monday.

Austrian Foreign Minister Sebastian Kurz says: "If we don't succeed both sides will lose".

Davis and Barnier have one key issue over the first weeks of talks: building trust after months of haggling over leaks and figures over the final bill that Britain would have to pay for leaving.

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.

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May officially triggered the two-year Brexit process in March when she was riding high in the opinion polls.

"The whole process will lead to a happy resolution - I think it can be done with profit and with honor for both sides", Johnson said on the sidelines of an European Union foreign ministerial meeting in Luxembourg.

British Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson said Monday he still thinks that the Brexit negotiations will yield "a happy resolution that can be done with profit and honor for both sides".

Still, Johnson called on people to look at the more distant future.

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"The most important thing I think now is for us to look to the horizon, think about the future, and think about the new partnership, the deep and special partnership that we want to build with our friends".

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