Formal talks on Britain's exit from European Union to begin in Brussels

Brexit Secretary David Davis arrived in Brussels on Monday to launch talks he hoped would produce a "new, deep and special partnership" with the EU in the interest of Britons and all Europeans.

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The BBC has been told by European Union sources that the talks will follow the EU's preferred pattern of exit negotiations first, with the future relations between the two sides - including the free trade deal the United Kingdom is seeking - at a later date.

It's been a year in the making and, with never a boring moment, Brexit negotiations commence today, leaving the pound on tender hooks as the markets look to get a sense of how European Union negotiators will position themselves, the tone of the respective sides expected to be their signals of intent over the next 20-odd months.

"To that end we are starting this negotiation in a positive and constructive tone, determined to build a strong and special partnership between ourselves and our European allies and friends for the future", Davis said.

At the time of the report, the pound is up 0.10% at $1.2796, though we could see an initial swing upon the opening comments from either side of the table, anything vaguely amicable likely to provide support, but not much considering its just the start.

And even when May finally triggered the two-year unraveling process on March 29, she followed it up with an early election she counted on winning big, only to lose her majority in the June 8 poll.

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

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

Macron, a committed pro-EU leader and ally of German Chancellor Angela Merkel, easily won French legislative elections on Sunday, cementing his power base.

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.

An increasingly concerned European Union has been pushing London to hurry up, with time running out for a deal and three months already gone since May triggered the two-year Article 50 European Union exit process.

He said he views the talks with "informed optimism".

The meeting also looked at the evolution of prices and production and import volumes for this year.

"The best way we can spend this week is to rebuild trust", rather than tackle the big hard issues right at the start, another European source said. She is seeking an arrangement with the Democratic Unionist Party in Northern Ireland.

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

Working groups will discuss aspects of the negotiations in the afternoon before a final meeting between Mr Davis and Mr Barnier.

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