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So it Begins: Brexit Talks to Focus 1st on Orderly Exit

So it Begins: Brexit Talks to Focus 1st on Orderly Exit

In a nod to the difficulty of that issue, Mr Davis said it took up more time "than anything else".

Chancellor of the Exchequer Philip Hammond said on Friday that protecting jobs and the British economy would be priorities for his country. Ominously for Britain and its hopes for a speedy trade deal, that EU-Canada pact took eight years from start to finish.

The program includes a working lunch and a closing session between the two top negotiators and meetings between their deputies.

GettyWhen are Brexit talks?

The UK government and European Union officials will now discuss the residency rights of European Union nationals in the UK and Britons on the continent, followed by a so called Brexit bill, which could see the UK pay €100bn to Brussels, and other other issues will be discussed further down the line.

The UK Government said in a press release that Davis is "confident that he can get a positive outcome and secure a new deep and special partnership with the European Union".

Davis said in a statement Sunday: "Now, the hard work begins".

"We have to clear accounts and we have to honor financial commitments", said Barnier, who spoke to reporters in English and French.

Responding to Mr Barnier, Mr Davis quoted wartime British prime minister Winston Churchill: "No doubt the road ahead will at times be challenging, but as Churchill once said, a pessimist sees the difficulty in every opportunity".

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But a week ago Mr Davis said "we will start down this process but I will have some discussions with Mr Barnier about how we progress" to trade talks.

Mr Davis, looking slightly more windswept than his flinty European colleague after the day's talks, brushed off the idea Britain's negotiating stance could change given political instability in the United Kingdom, with Prime Minister Theresa May seeking support of the Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) to prop up her minority government.

A poll published over the weekend shows that a slim majority of Britons now want the chance to vote on the terms of Brexit when the talks are concluded. "In the first step we will deal with the most pressing issues, in the second step will scope our future partnership", added Barnier.

Before lunching on Belgian asparagus, red mullet and meringue cake, the two exchanged gifts that homed in on a shared love of hiking: Davis received a walking stick from Barnier's native Savoy Alps and Barnier a first edition of a French mountaineer's Himalayan memoir - "Regards vers Annapurna".

"Over the coming weeks and months, the United Kingdom government must demonstrate how it is working to address the everyday considerations of British companies in the talks - who can they hire, whether their goods will be stopped at borders, and whether they will have to cope with extra costs".

"The only possibility of a soft Brexit is if the European Union itself fundamentally changes, if the European Union allows member states to reclaim more control over their destiny, which is something I've advocated for many years".

From the Brexit brigade's initial chest-beating and wild promises of reduced immigration and increased prosperity to Theresa May's shrill denunciation of the EU's "threats against Britain", the British position has been chaotic and weak.

He added they were determined to deliver certainty to expats as soon as possible.