Germany: no punishment for UK, but EU exit good for no one

"We are starting this negotiation in a positive and constructive tone", he said outside the European Commission's headquarters in Brussels.

It is clear: the EU27 has the power to decide when trade talks begin - not the UK.

"While there will undoubtedly be challenging times ahead of us in the negotiations we will do all that we can to ensure that we deliver a deal that works in the best interests of all citizens".

According to reports from Press Association (PA), a spokesperson for the UK's Department for Exiting the European Union (EU) said the first aim was to move ahead on securing the rights of EU citizens in the United Kingdom and UK citizens living in the EU and "end the anxiety facing four million citizens".

Nearly exactly a year after Britain's seismic referendum to leave the bloc, the EU's chief negotiator, Michel Barnier of France, welcomed his counterpart David Davis with a cheery handshake at the European Commission in Brussels.

Little is expected of the first day's negotiations, with it unlikely that anything definitive will be laid out for some time.

The association represents 3,200 businesses with a million employees in Germany making industrial machinery. It also comes as May faces open criticism from senior Cabinet members about her failed election campaign and growing pressure to drop her plans for a "Hard Brexit", which would see Britain leave the EU Single Market and Customs Union.

Quoting Winston Churchill, Davis said in response: "A pessimist sees the difficulty in every opportunity; an optimist sees the opportunity in every difficulty".


"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.

A letter signed by the CBI, British Chambers of Commerce, manufacturing group the EEF, the Federation of Small Businesses and Institute of Directors also calls for an early deal to secure the rights of European Union citizens living and working in Britain to stay after Brexit.

The 60-year-old prime minister emerged victorious from a bitter and divisive leadership battle after her predecessor, David Cameron, quit following Britain's vote a year ago to leave the EU. More than 80 percent of them voted in the election for a party that advocated ditching the single market, while 77 percent told polling company YouGov that they wanted out. But a government spokesman in London said, "We believe that the withdrawal process can not be concluded without the future relationship also being taken into account". Britain itself encountered issues of its own when Prime Minister Theresa May lost the majority vote on June 8th while the European Union was ready to plan its future without the nation. "I look forward to beginning work on that new future today". British Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson issued a statement about the UK's future plans without its 27 other European Union members: "The most important thing for us is to look to the horizon, raise our eyes to the horizon".

Mr Barnier's insistence on sticking to the EU's priorities for the negotiations comes after Mr Davis appeared to soften his stance on the schedule for the talks.

The contrast underscored the relative positions as they headed into their first formal talks on unwinding the U.K.'s four decades of membership in Europe's common market. That will make eventual parliamentary approval hard for any Brexit deal that she might strike with her European counterparts.

Britain's shaggy-haired foreign minister is a Latin-quoting maverick and former journalist who once compared the European Union to Adolf Hitler in trying, "by different methods", to create another super-state.

"It was clear from the opening that both of us want to achieve the best possible outcome and the strongest possible partnership".

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