First round of Brexit talks to begin on Monday June 19

First round of Brexit talks to begin on Monday June 19

First round of Brexit talks to begin on Monday June 19

May now faces the task of satisfying both the pro-European and eurosceptic factions of her party, keeping Northern Ireland calm and negotiating a divorce with 27 other European Union members whose combined economic might is more than five times that of Britain.

May wants to negotiate the divorce and the future trading relationship with the European Union before Britain leaves in March 2019, followed by what she calls a phased implementation process to give business time to prepare for the impact of the divorce.

But speculating now on different kinds of trade pact - on "soft Brexit" or "hard" - is to put cart before horse, they say.

European Union leaders have been calling for talks to begin - on Tuesday Mr Barnier said: "I can't negotiate with myself".

The European Parliament's Brexit coordinator, Guy Verhofstadt, struck a harsher tone: Britain, he said, could change its mind, but it would be poorer.

"We believe that the withdrawal process can not be concluded without the future relationship also being taken into account".

Though on the surface, Thursday s meetings with Northern Irish parties were aimed at breaking the logjam in forming a new cross-party regional government in the province, May needs broader acceptance in the province of a Conservative-DUP deal.

"We are continuing to have talks but today, as you will imagine, there has been a real focus on this bad tragedy in London", May said.

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Philip Hammond has warned failing to secure a Brexit deal would be "very, very bad" for Britain ahead of the start of exit talks in Brussels on Monday.

They are likely to be discussing the possibility of a transition period following Brexit during which new trade arrangements can be finalised and phased in, in order to prevent a "cliff-edge" move to the new model.

Dismissing the prospect of a unilateral decision to guarantee the rights of European Union citizens in the United Kingdom, he stressed he had "got to worry about the million or so Brits abroad".

Barnier speaks of a willingness to look at various options but EU officials also stress that greater access to EU markets will mean accepting greater costs, closer to EU membership, and question whether Britain can find a political consensus on that.

Conservatives and the DUP are committed to strengthening British unity, delivering Brexit, combating terrorism and delivering prosperity but "at the moment there isn t a deal", the source said. "The reality is that where we stand follows logically from leaving, so, if we're leaving, what we need to do is do it smoothly and successfully and gain economic benefit".

For Brussels, a concern with starting talks on such models would be that Brexit supporters might end up blocking them, raising the risk of time running out to get any deal: "Would you".

"The big clash that we feared isn't there", said one senior official involved.

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