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Britain eyes Brexit deal 'like no other in history'

19 June 2017

As has been the case throughout the run-up to the official talks, the main emphasis of the preview was on the U.K.'s desire to secure a future relationship with the EU.

Crawford Falconer, a former trade chief for New Zealand, was also appointed the government's new chief trade negotiation adviser last week to search for new free trade partnerships outside the EU.

The Government said its primary focus is on the rights of European Union citizens living in the United Kingdom and Brits living on the continent.

But Monday's talks will seek mainly to tie down the timing, with the European Union suggesting monthly cycles over the summer.

EU Commission negotiator Michel Barnier.

Two most discussed options of how the withdrawal process will proceed are dubbed as "hard" and "soft" Brexit.

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

Nearly a quarter of the business community say that restricting entry to Britain to European Union migrants with a job offer would have a negative impact on them, rising to 30% of companies in low-wage industries. However, it seems unlikely he will be able to resist public comment on the Brexit process, which he has described as a "tragedy".

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.

"Many people are afraid that what is presented as a very generous offer will not be seen as very generous, which could really contribute to a negative atmosphere", a European source said.

Additionally, the first phase should include discussion of the possible common approach toward third country partners and worldwide organizations.

May's government has developed a strategy of so-called "hard Brexit": leaving the European single market and the customs union in order to control immigration from the EU.

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With Mrs May still hammering out the details of a post-election deal to stay in power with the support of a small Northern Irish party, there are fears of a disorderly exit that would weaken the West, imperil Britain's US$2.5 trillion (S$3.5 trillion) economy and undermine London's position as the only financial centre to rival NY. The DUP is said to want a tax on air travel to Northern Ireland axed, which could cost £90million in lost revenue.

But Britain says it has been "crystal clear" that both withdrawal and future relations should be agreed at the same time.

Opponents of Brexit fear that ditching a 60-year strategy of trying to hedge European integration with a special relationship with Washington or a brittle Commonwealth of former colonies would undermine what remains of Britain's global influence.

He also rejected the slogan "no deal is better than a bad deal", which Mrs May repeatedly used during the election campaign to argue that she would be willing to walk away from the Brexit table if other countries did not give her enough.

May has said she is open to some kind of association agreement with the customs union and wants to avoid any so-called "cliff-edge" into uncertain trading conditions, but she has also said Britain must be able to control immigration - something it can not do while a member of the EU.

Labour claimed the Conservative government was engulfed in chaos just hours before talks open.

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May's Conservatives need the support of the Protestant DUP's 10 lawmakers to have a majority in parliament, and some have called for the government to take a cross-party approach to Brexit given May's weakened position following the election.