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A look at what is ahead now that Brexit talks have started

A look at what is ahead now that Brexit talks have started

Ever since the United Kingdom invoked Article 50 in March, triggering its formal intention to leave the EU, the European side has said it was ready to begin negotiations.

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

May says Britain will leave the EU's single market in goods and services and its tariff-free customs union, but nonetheless, somehow, wants "frictionless" free trade. But the disastrous outcome of the June 8 snap election, which left her without a majority in the House of Commons, has raised doubts over whether she will even be able to see the two-year process through.

The Queen's Speech traditionally takes place during the ceremonial State Opening of Parliament, which this year was planned for Monday and has since been postponed to Wednesday as the Conservative party stitched up its deal with the Democratic Unionist Party for support of its minority government.

Johnson urged Europeans to look at the more distant future.

- Softer strategy on Brexit?

The Prime Minister's legacy will be defined by whether she makes good on her promise to make a success of Brexit.

All the confident predictions by senior Tories that Britain would leave the European Union on its own terms, and insist if necessary on a so-called hard Brexit, with calamitous consequences on both sides of the Irish border, have swiftly evaporated.

Scottish Conservative leader Ruth Davidson, who is newly influential after winning 13 seats in Scotland, has said Britain should prioritise "freedom to trade and our economic growth".

But finance minister Philip Hammond confirmed Sunday that Britain would still be leaving the EU, the single market and the customs union.

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Alongside his task force, he "will coordinate the Commission's work on all strategic, operational, legal and financial issues related to these negotiations", according to an official statement.

He said: "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".

But he warned that "we need to get there via a slope, not via a cliff edge".

Summer Negotiations on the Brexit deal expected to continue in Brussels, with the Davis and Barnier teams meeting for one week in each month, before returning to base to report back and develop their positions.

The talks will initially focus on three areas insisted on by the EU - Britain's Brexit bill, estimated at around 100 billion euros (Rs 7,200 billion), the rights of three million EU nationals living in Britain and one million Britons on the continent, and the status of the border between Northern Ireland and Ireland.

It is thought the European Union will move on to discussing a trade deal in October, if enough progress is made.

And Hammond described the divorce bill figures being bandied around in Brussels as "the most egregious pre-negotiation posturing".

The negotiations have been billed as the most complex in Britain's history as it unravels 44 years of membership and its threat to walk out with no deal in place has anxious European capitals.

The language has changed from "Brexit means Brexit", to a "Red, White and Blue Brexit", "No deal is better than a bad deal" to a more measured post-election "open Brexit", to "no deal would be a very, very bad outcome for Britain".


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