Officials on both sides confirm Brexit talks will start on June 19

A day after France and Germany both said Britain could reverse Brexit if it wanted, Verhofstadt said Britain's budget rebates and opt outs from European Union rules would disappear if it did so.

An EU official close to the matter said the "softer Brexit" talk could be "productive" and help progress in the first months, where the British attitude to discussing the financial settlement "will be the first serious test of the 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.

But speaking in Dublin after a meeting with the new Taoiseach Leo Varadkar, the DUP leader Arlene Foster said it was down to Sinn Fein whether an agreement is reached.

France's Macron said the door was still open for Britain to remain in the European Union, though he added that it would be hard to walk back once negotiations start.

"We would restore faith in politics if we could show that this parliament can at least function in presenting a view in the national interest which would command a majority on a cross-party basis", said veteran pro-European Conservative lawmaker Ken Clarke.

"Combined with the fact Article 50 was triggered on an arbitrary date, starting the clock on Brexit without a proper plan, it is clear that bold measures are needed to ensure we negotiate the best possible Brexit deal".

"I'm not going to give a blow by blow account of how we propose to take that discussion forward", he said. "As of yet, no date for opening the negotiations has been agreed", an European Union official told AFP on condition of anonymity.

Schaeuble said in a televised Bloomberg interview that Hammond had relayed that the party is now trying to work out what it means that "a lot of young voters voted for Labour, not for the Conservative Party".

Hammond's comments Friday come a day after he cancelled a keynote address to London financiers in the wake of the Grenfell Tower disaster, in which the death toll is expected to rise from 17.

When asked if he thought there was a possibility Brexit won't happen, Schaeuble said it was not valuable to speculate on that. "But if they wanted to change their decisions, of course, they would find open doors", he said.

While Theresa May's decision to hold a snap election initially frustrated European Union officials, the aim for a clear mandate to negotiate Brexit was appreciated.

After failing to achieve a majority, May met with the Democratic Unionist Party of Northern Ireland on Tuesday in the hopes of cobbling together a deal to ensure her minority government can get its Queen's Speech - a flagship annual event in which the government lays out its policy agenda for the coming year - through Parliament.

  • Zachary Reyes