And so it begins: Brexit talks to focus 1st on orderly exit

"Today we agreed on dates, we agreed on organisation and we agreed on priorities for negotiations", Barnier told journalists, describing the four-week model that the European Union had proposed during the initial technical talks that took place the week before Davis agreed to land to the Belgian capital. "We must lift the uncertainty caused by Brexit", said Barnier.

But many in Brussels fear that London has no real strategy, with May under pressure at home and still trying to close a deal with a conservative Northern Ireland party to stay in power, and facing criticism for her handling of the aftermath of a devastating tower block fire.

"These groups will report back to their respective principles during each negotiation week".

"Then in the second step, we scope our future partnership; we also agree on how we structure our tools".

"This first session was useful, we start off on the right foot as the clock is ticking", Barnier told a joint press conference with British counterpart David Davis.

Still, British Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson remained upbeat Monday, saying he thinks the Brexit negotiations will yield "a happy resolution that can be done with profit and honor for both sides".

Davis, noting shared security threats for governments across Europe hours after a van rammed worshippers at a London mosque, said: "There is more that unites us than divides us". "I am certain it is soluble". "A deal like no other in history", Davis said in a statement as he headed into the talks.

"I would like us to get a good agreement that is in both sides' interests".

Mr Barnier and Mr Davis will meet every four weeks over the coming months, bringing their teams together for a matter of days each time. There's a long way to go but we're off to a promising start.

"There will be no austerity on my side, I will display a constructive attitude firmly based on interests and support of the (European Union) 27, and I will all the time seek to the continued support of the European Parliament", he said.

An early election this month, in which British Prime Minister Theresa May lost her majority, only added to the problems, AP reported.

"There are lots of parties that also want their countries to either leave the European Union, or have powers returned from Brussels back to the individual member states, so it's a really complex situation there".

"Similarly we'll be leaving the Customs Union. that's the only way we can develop our free trade arrangements with the rest of the world", he added.

BRUSSELS — Talks on Britain leaving the European Union began Monday with both sides saying they will focus first on an orderly withdrawal: a deal for citizens living in each other's territory, border arrangements between Ireland and the United Kingdom and the amount that Britain will pay to get out of previous EU commitments.

There are widespread questions over whether Britain may soften its Brexit goals outlined before the election, which include taking the United Kingdom out of the EU's single market for goods and services and the bloc's customs union.

  • Zachary Reyes