Soros says United Kingdom is approaching 'tipping point' as Brexit bites

He hailed that the the first session was "important", "open", and "useful indeed to start off on the right foot as the clock is ticking".

Mr Davis and the EU Commission chief negotiator Michel Barnier met in Brussels in the first of what will be at least a year of monthly meetings, both promising to hold talks in a "constructive" spirit.

But in Britain many media portrayed Davis, a veteran Brexit campaigner, as having climbed down from his insistence that the European Union must immediately open talks on a future free trade agreement rather than limit negotiations, as they are now, to basic issues of the divorce, such as the rights of expatriate citizens.

On day one of the negotiations, Prime Minister Theresa May's government gave in to European Union demands to discuss the terms of its divorce-including the exit fee-before any consideration can begin on the future trade deal Britain wants with Europe's common market.

"In the first phase, the negotiation rounds will be broken down into three groups: citizens' rights, the single financial settlement, and other separation issues", Barnier said. He wanted parallel discussion, covering both the future trade deal and the terms of Britain's departure-including a demand for an exit payment of as much as 100 billion euros ($112 billion).

Davis said Prime Minister May will also set out at an EU summit on Thursday her proposals for the rights of the three million EU nationals living in Britain, and one million Britons in the EU, with the British government to publish a detailed offer next Monday.

Despite Theresa May wanting parallel talks on a new trade deal while negotiating the "divorce", this would have to wait until later, the European Union said. He said from a European point of view, as long as the negotiations are not over, there is still a possibility to change the course of the events.

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

If they continue to move tariff-free it makes it easier.I hope the European Union will come to see this as an opportunity for it as well as for us.

"So now that the negotiations have started, we are determined to get on with the job and deliver that certainty as soon as possible".

He also stuck to May's position that Britain will pursue a completely new trade agreement with the union.

"The pessimist sees difficulty in every opportunity, the optimist sees opportunity in every difficulty".

"It was clear from the opening that both of us want to achieve the best possible outcome and the strongest possible partnership".

"So, we each have to assume our responsibility and the consequences of our decisions". "We have to take our fate into our own hands".

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.

But the Conservative leader, who is battling to retain her authority after losing her parliamentary majority in a snap vote, also put herself on a collision course with Brussels with the plans.

  • Julie Sanders