Divorce bill focus of Brexit talks on Monday

A spokesman for the Department for Exiting the European said: "We believe that the withdrawal process can not be concluded without the future relationship also being taken into account".

Amid reports that May is set to make a "generous offer" on the rights of European Union citizens remaining in Britain, the source said London had been warned against doing so this week, on the grounds that it could drag up the thorny issue before talks had really got going.

At a meeting of European Union finance ministers, the Chancellor said: "My clear view, and I believe the view of the majority of people in Britain, is that we should prioritise protecting jobs, protecting economic growth, protecting prosperity as we enter those negotiations and take them forward".

He added: "It is at testing times like these that we are reminded of the values and the resolve that we share with our closest allies in Europe".

Davis said the talks would be carried out in "a positive and constructive tone", with Britain looking to forge a "strong and special partnership for the future".

"That has always been our first aim and that is what we will do", the spokesman said.

It is also 82 days after Theresa May sent a letter formally notifying the European Council of Britain's intention to withdraw.

But the British government is adopting less combative rhetoric after an unexpected election result earlier this month saw May lose her majority in parliament.

However, in a significant concession, Britain's negotiators have now agreed to an European Union demand to delay talks on a new trading relationship.

Working groups will be set up to focus on three key areas - the status of EU citizens living in Britain and British citizens living in the EU; the divorce bill for Britain; and the future of the Northern Irish border with EU member Ireland.

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He added: "As the European Union has itself said, "nothing is agreed, until everything is agreed".

After the initial shock of last year's Brexit vote and faced with rising anti-EU sentiment, the bloc at 27 appears to have steadied in recent months and got a real boost with the election of new French President Emmanuel Macron in May.

Anxious by mass immigration and loss of sovereignty, Britain past year voted to end its decades-old membership of the 28-nation bloc in a shock referendum result.

"I do not know which particular line of approach is being made by the Government because they are in complete division, so I think actually removing this Government and allowing a Labour government, if necessary a minority government, to come into place would give us clear direction on all of this".

The Brexit Department said in a statement that the UK's withdrawal and future ties are "intimately linked".

However, the speech was cancelled following the Grenfell Tower tragedy in West London.

German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble said in a Bloomberg Television interview this week that as soon as "the principles" of Brexit are agreed, talks can move on in parallel to "the details of the regulation, and what will be the further relations between the United Kingdom, after Brexit, and the single market and the European Union, and so on". Beyond the politics, we need to put the economy first.

Winter/spring 2017/18 If talks are proceeding to plan, negotiators can be expected to be meeting regularly to iron out remaining issues and identify the points of difference to be settled by political leaders at the highest level.

This is published unedited from the PTI feed.


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