EU, Britain agree on timetable for Brexit talks

A man walks past reflections on the ground during rain in Piccadilly Circus in London

It has led to calls from within the Conservative Party and business community for a softer Brexit where the mantra of "no deal is better than a bad deal" is laid to rest and the focus shifts to the economy and jobs with some calling for the United Kingdom to remain in both the single market and the customs union.

"So now that the negotiations have started, we are determined to get on with the job and deliver that certainty as soon as possible".

"We are citizens first".

She had called the early vote herself, saying it was to strengthen her mandate in the Brexit talks.

But Mr Davis, the Howden and Haltemprice MP, insisted the Government's approach would not alter.

"He said that we do not want to end up with a bad deal, it is not our goal to do that, we want to see that this works well".

"So it's the same as it was before".

"Today we agreed on dates, we agreed on organisation and we agreed on priorities for the negotiation", Barnier said.

Britain on Monday finally opened negotiations with other European Union nations about leaving the bloc.

"There is a long way to go, but we are off to a promising start".

"In a first step, we will deal with the most pressing issues".

"So we each have to assume our responsibility and the consequences of our decision and the consequences are substantial".

The two men said the will meet once every month for catch-up talks.

In an apparent reference to UK Ministers" repeated insistence that "no deal is better than a bad deal', M. Barnier said: "For both the European Union and the UK a fair deal is possible and far better than no deal". They will use the time in between to work on proposals and exchange them.

"There will be no hostility on my side, I will display a constructive attitude firmly based on the interests and support of the 27".

"Tory David Davis has crumbled on the very first day of Brexit negotiations, as he was forced to agree to the EU's timetable", wrote the Daily Mirror, a left-leaning tabloid.

Asked to clarify a remark he made after Monday's opening of talks about not making concessions to Britain, he played it down as a statement of the obvious not to concede arguments at the outset and all the more so because his meeting with Britain's David Davis in Brussels did not launch talks on substance. He has been utterly humiliated.

The discussions between U.K. Brexit Secretary David Davis and Barnier marked the end of the beginning of what both sides expect to be a complicated and confrontational process to unwind more than four decades of membership.

Merkel also said the talks were important for the future of European integration.

Chief Brexit negotiator David Davis said he "was encouraged by the productive approach" evident in the first formal talks with his European Union counterpart Michel Barnier.

Davis gave Barnier an original, French-language account of an expedition to the Himalayas, while Barnier reciprocated with a traditional walking stick from his home region of Savoie.

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