UK, EU begin Brexit negotiations

Theresa May, UK flag

The European Union and Britain on Monday start formal talks to separate after 44 years of UK membership, with Prime Minister Theresa May entering negotiations in a position weakened by her country’s recent general election.

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Brexit Secretary arrives in Brussels for first formal talks saying UK and EU are “determined to build a strong and special partnership”.

AFP — Brexit Secretary David Davis and the EU chief negotiator Michel Barnier kick off talks in Brussels on Monday that will set the terms on which Britain walks away from the bloc and determine its relationship with the continent for generations to come.

“On Brexit, we will be neither ‘hard’, nor ‘soft’, but amicable and firm,” the EU’s Economic and Financial Affairs Commissioner Pierre Moscovici told the French weekly Journal du Dimanche. “All the scenarios are on the table, including that of no agreement on March 29, 2019. But this is not the one we prefer.”

The negotiations start almost a year to the day since Britons shocked themselves and their neighbours by voting on June 23 to cut loose from their main trading partner. They also come nearly three months since PM May locked them into a two-year countdown to Brexit that will end in March 2019.