Britain-EU Brexit talks to start Monday as planned

The opening was set to take place on Monday, but was delayed amid negotiations.

Following discussions in Brussels on Thursday, the offices of Brexit Secretary David Davis and the European Commission's chief negotiator Michel Barnier released a joint statement to confirm the date.

Government sources suggested that the Conservatives do not necessarily need an agreement with the DUP before Wednesday, because the DUP would be unlikely to support the opposition Labour Party and its leader Jeremy Corbyn.

Theresa May's failure to win a majority at the General Election has led to suggestions her Brexit plan to leave the EU's Single Market and Customs Union could be altered, while rival parties have demanded involvement in exit talks following the inconclusive result. It does not wash.

Leavers within the Government are predicting ferocious resistance to Brexit from without the Cabinet as well as within, with one minister predicting "utterly bitter, trench warfare" as opposition politicians and Tory rebels "fight us line by line, in committees, on the floor and in the Lords, for months and months on end". "It is the only way to unite the country and strengthen our bargaining power with the European Union".

"My clear view and I believe the view of the majority of people in Great Britain is we should be protecting jobs, protecting economic growth and protecting prosperity", Chancellor of the Exchequer Hammond said as he arrived for regular talks with his European Union counterparts in Luxembourg.

The first round of talks are likely to focus on the UK's so-called divorce bill, estimated to be as much as €100bn (£88bn), as well as the rights of European Union citizens now living in Britain and United Kingdom nationals living on the continent.

Brussels has warned that time is running out to start the talks with Britain on divorce terms and a future trade deal.

"We've set out the broad principles from where we will start the negotiation and we will negotiate in good faith, but it is a negotiation and we recognise there will be an exchange of views and we will take that forward in a spirit of genuine cooperation", Chancellor of the Exchequer Philip Hammond told reporters in Luxembourg on Friday.

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