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20 June 2017, 11:15 | Terri Saunders
GETTY- STOCK IMAGEThe UK will continue to bask in sunshine
Britain began talks with the European Union on the conditions of leaving the bloc, according to a statement from negotiators.
Davis said the talks would be carried out in "a positive and constructive tone", with Britain looking to forge a "strong and special partnership for the future".
Davis will lead a team of experienced negotiators to Brussels, confident that he can get a positive outcome and secure a new deep and special partnership with the European Union, said his spokesman.
Other official at the table included Glynn Williams - director general at the Home Office, Mark Bowman - director general, worldwide finance at HM Treasury, Simon Case - director general, UK-EU partnership team, Alex Ellis - director general at the Department for Exiting the European Union, Jane Walker - aide to David Davis and Christian Jones - press secretary to David Davis.
"There is more that unites us than divides us", Davis said.
"So while there will undoubtedly be challenging times ahead of us in the negotiations we will do all that we can to ensure we deliver a deal that works in the best interests of all of our citizens".
Day one of the negotiations, at the European Commission buildings in Brussels, will be followed by a joint press conference this evening by Davis and the EU's chief negotiator Michel Barnier, a former French foreign minister and EU commissioner.
"We must lift the uncertainty caused by Brexit, we want to make sure that the withdrawal of the United Kingdom happens in an orderly manner, then in a second step we will scope our future partnership", the French politician said.
Days after a suggestion from French President Emmanuel Macron that Britain could still choose to remain, Davis said there would be no backtracking from Prime Minister Theresa May's plan to deliver on Brexit, for which Britons voted in a referendum nearly a year ago. Mr Barnier quoted one of the EU's founding fathers, Jean Monnet, saying in French: "Ce qui est important, ce n'est, ni d'être optimiste, ni pessimiste, mais d'être détermine". An early election this month, in which British Prime Minister Theresa May lost her Conservative majority in parliament, only added to the problems.
In a sign of the progress that has been made, Mr Davis said the Prime Minister would brief fellow European Union leaders at a summit on Thursday on the UK's approach to the rights of expatriate citizens, which will be set out in detail in a paper on Monday.
Last year's Brexit vote came as a profound shock to Brussels against a backdrop of rising anti-EU sentiment, with many - including now US President Donald Trump - predicting the bloc's eventual break-up.
The talks will focus on issues regarding citizens rights, the United Kingdom.
They also said their top deputies would immediately begin work on a third issue: How to avoid a "hard border" between Ireland and Northern Ireland that could endanger peace in a region that suffered decades of violence. "A fair deal is possible and far better than no deal", the French former European Union commissioner said.
In a major defeat, Brexit Secretary David Davis was forced to drop his central demand for the two strands of the negotiations to be staged in parallel, within hours of arriving in Brussels.
The EU is also seeking British commitments to meet all past EU spending pledges when it leaves the bloc, a bill European officials say could amount to upward of EUR60 billion ($67.2 billion).
"The best way we can spend this week is to rebuild trust", another European source said.
The Brexit Secretary read out a section from May's Article 50 letter, which only seemed to highlight his concession, before adding: "When we eventually get to the point where the Council decide we have made enough progress, both sets of dialogue will continue, including free trade, not just trade, including customs, security, obviously cooperation in all sorts of ways".
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