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Britain-EU Brexit talks to start Monday as planned

Britain-EU Brexit talks to start Monday as planned

His comments come after the EU's chief Brexit negotiator, Michel Barnier, warned London to "not waste time" and begin negotiations as soon as possible.

Foster's Democratic Unionist Party has been in talks with May's Conservatives after the prime minister's party failed to win a majority in a national election.

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

"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 Britain and the European Union, he said.

The five main Northern Ireland parties are meeting with the British Prime Minister separately at Downing Street.

The talks also gave her the opportunity to try to reassure the other parties that a tie-up with the DUP would not compromise Britain's impartiality in the delicate Northern Ireland peace process. "It continues and when the deal is done, it will be done", a senior source in the Conservative Party said on Thursday.

The EU's executive Commission said in a statement Friday that the first round of negotiations in Brussels will be part of a "sequenced approach to the talks".

Working groups were to take place later to focus on three key areas - the status of European Union citizens living in Britain and British citizens living in the European Union; the divorce bill for Britain; and the status of the Northern Irish border with Ireland.

"Theresa May must immediately create a cross-party joint cabinet committee to negotiate Brexit".

Liberal Democrat MP Alistair Carmichael said: "The Conservatives can not go from weak and wobbly to business as usual in three days".

The prospect of Brexit has sent a wave of concern through Britain's business sector.

Britain's giant banking industry and other business groups see Hammond as their most powerful ally in government and they were anxious when it appeared he might lose his job in the run-up to the election.

The chancellor of the exchequer was asked whether he favoured a softer version of Brexit - such as British membership of the EU single market or of a customs union.

"Depending on a hard or soft Brexit, that number might be slightly less than that, so it's going to be updated all the time", its United Kingdom chief executive Ian Stuart told BBC television.

The opening was set to take place on Monday, but was delayed due to the ongoing negotiations.

The EU has insisted that this sequence involve sorting out Britain's departure and urgent issues like the rights of citizens affected by Brexit before the shape of future ties or trade are discussed.


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