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Britain begins Brexit talks

A year after its historic vote, Britain on Monday finally opened negotiations with the other 27 European Union nations about leaving the bloc, with the final outcome, due in 2019, as globally important as it now seems unpredictable.

The two chief negotiators, Michel Barnier of the EU and David Davis from Britain, immediately set off to find common ground in their working relationship, an important touchstone to see how amicable the biggest political divorce in decades will become.

"Our objective is clear. We must first tackle the uncertainties caused by Brexit," centring on citizens living on each other's territory, border arrangements between Ireland and the United Kingdom and the amount that Britain stands to pay to get out of its previous EU commitments, Barnier said.

Davis said he was looking for a "positive and constructive tone" to deal with the myriad issues dividing both sides.

"Our big problem is that we have no picture, no idea at all, what the British want," said German Manfred Weber, the head of the EPP Christian Democrat group in the European Parliament. The other EU countries have a united position, but the British are "in chaos," Weber added.



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