Finally, Britain kicks off Brexit negotiations with EU

Those issues are Britain's exit bill, estimated by Brussels at around 100 billion euros ($112 billion), the rights of three million European Union nationals living in Britain and one million Britons on the continent, and the status of the border between Northern Ireland and Ireland.

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

PM Theresa May signing the letter to the European Union triggering Article 50.

Mr Davis will be accompanied by a nine-strong negotiating team that includes the most senior civil servants at the department as well as officials from the Treasury and Home Office as well as Mark Sedwill, the national security adviser to the Prime Minister.

Austrian Foreign Minister Sebastian Kurz says: "If we don't succeed both sides will lose".

"I want to reiterate at the outset of these talks that the United Kingdom will remain a committed partner and ally of our friends across the Continent".

The agenda of the first round of talks is set to focus on "citizens' rights, the financial settlement, the Northern Irish border and other separation issues, as part of the sequenced approach to the talks", according to the EU Commission.

"Sitting down for a first formal negotiation round is something in and of itself", an European Union source told AFP.

With Britain's negotiations on the terms of its departure from the European Union set to begin on Monday, the country risks skills shortages and losing business if it ends freedom of movement without a new plan for attracting workers, the report by the National Institute of Economic and Social Research and the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development said.

At stake in hugely complex talks that are expected to conclude by March 2019 is not just Britain's future but a western political order that would be badly shaken by a failure to reach a deal.

Davis's agreement to Monday's agenda led some European Union officials to believe that May's government may at last coming around to Brussels' view of how negotiations should be run.

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".

The Chancellor insisted there must be transitional arrangements to avoid a "cliff edge", and he indicated temporary measures could be in place for a couple of years before a final deal is sealed.

"On Brexit, we will be neither "hard", nor "soft", but amicable and firm", Moscovici told French weekly Journal du Dimanche.

British Prime Minister Theresa May has said that the vote one year ago was partly a vote for Britain to control its borders, and has said that Britain will leave Europe's single market, as membership is incompatible with restricting immigration.

Mr Hammond told the BBC's Andrew Marr Show that having no deal would be "a very, very bad outcome for Britain" but added that one that aimed to "suck the lifeblood out of our economy over a period of time" would be even worse.

Business leaders are concerned about the government's stated position that "no deal is better than a bad deal" for Brexit.

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