UK Confirms It Will Leave EU Single Market Upon Brexit

He had hoped for talks on trade to run in parallel with divorce discussions, but a politically weakened United Kingdom team appear eager to show signs of progress on Monday even if it meant accepting priorities set by their counterparts.

"The best way we can spend this week is to rebuild trust", rather than tackle the big hard issues right at the start, a European source said.

The UK appears to have bowed down, and accepted the agenda of the European Union as the long-anticipated talks for Brexit, i.e. Britain's exit from the EU, have finally begun.

He said those were the rights of expatriate citizens and problems of a new EU-UK border, notably cutting across Ireland.

In choreographed talks that saw the two men exchange mountaineering gifts, they agreed to discuss divorce issues before negotiations on a future trade deal can start.

In their June 2016 referendum, the majority of the British citizens voted in favor of Brexit (51.9% to 48.1%).

For his part, and sounding conciliatory, Johnson said as he arrived at a meeting with fellow European Union foreign ministers in Luxembourg that he looked forward to "a happy revolution" in relations that would be good for Britain and the rest of Europe.

Mrs May has repeatedly refused to guarantee European Union citizens' rights until agreement is reached with Brussels over the future of British citizens living in Europe.

The start of the negotiations comes as work continues across the British government to prepare Britain for life outside of the EU.

In Berlin, German Chancellor Angela Merkel emphasised the unity of the remaining 27 European Union countries, who have been alarmed in recent weeks by May's threats to walk out of the talks.

But instead she lost her parliamentary majority, putting that hard-line approach and her political future in doubt after the disastrous June 8 election.

The talks are set to kick off at 11 a.m. (0900 GMT) in Brussels with a meeting between Davis and the EU's chief Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier.

The UK had wanted the future of trade relations to be considered alongside other issues but the opening day of talks concluded with agreement that progress will be made on citizens" rights, the so-called "divorce bill' and border relations between the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland first.

Britain's Secretary for Exiting the European Union David Davis. "I look forward to working closely with you during this negotiation", EU negotiator Barnier said, as quoted by the press service of the European Commission, the EU's executive.

The vote came as a profound shock to Brussels against a backdrop of rising anti-EU sentiment, with many - including now US President Donald Trump - predicting the bloc's eventual break-up.

  • Zachary Reyes