'Sombre' Britain prepares for historic Brexit talks

After nearly a year of waffling, Britain on Monday finally opens negotiations with its European Union counterparts about leaving the bloc, with the final outcome, due in 2019, as important as it now seems unpredictable.

VDMA managing director Thilo Brodtmann said in a statement that "the European Union and Great Britain must absolutely avoid being left without an agreement in two years".

Davis said he was looking for a "positive and constructive tone" to deal with the myriad issues dividing both sides.

With Britain's negotiations on the terms of its departure from the European Union set to begin on Monday, the country risks skills shortages and losing business if it ends freedom of movement without a new plan for attracting workers, the report by the National Institute of Economic and Social Research and the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development said.

Monday's negotiations are to start in Brussels at 11 am (0900 GMT) with 90 minutes of talks between Barnier and Davis, followed by a working lunch between the pair, and a press conference.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel says she hopes for a "good agreement" after Brexit talks in which 27 European Union countries will listen carefully to what Britain wants but also defend their own interests.

Theresa May would go into the Brexit talks with her authority massively enhanced following an election campaign which gave the Prime Minister an unambiguous mandate for her approach to the negotiations.

Liberal Democrat Layla Moran, who beat Nicola Blackwood to take the seat by 816 votes, was speaking ahead of the talks and nearly one year after the referendum vote to leave the EU. Britain hopes the two themes - divorce terms and future relationship - can be discussed in parallel.

Britain's Brexit ministry said the team travelling to Brussels was confident it could achieve a "bold and ambitious deal" and forge a new, close arrangement with the bloc.

By far the most important will be the long-awaited Brexit talks between the United Kingdom and the European Union, which are expected to commence in Brussels with a meeting between Michel Barnier, the European Commission's chief negotiator, and the British government's representative, David Davis.

Even though May triggered the two-year process on March 29, negotiators will have to get a full agreement much faster than March 2019.

For that reason, Brussels wants as a priority to guarantee rights for 3 million European Union citizens in Britain and be paid tens of billions of euros it says London will owe on its departure. "A deal that supports growth will allow companies to hire more people, raise living standards and improve lives across the country".

"The most important thing for us is to look to the horizon, raise our eyes to the horizon".

  • Leroy Wright