Merkel seeks "good agreement" with UK on Brexit

Merkel seeks

Speaking alongside EU chief Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier as they arrived for talks at the European Commission, Davis said he expected "challenging times ahead" in talks expected to stretch for around 16-18 months ahead of the UK's withdrawal from the EU in 2019.

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 clock is ticking", he said, adding the two sides' join objective was to ensure that Brexit "happens in an orderly manner". While denying they want to punish their neighbour, European Union officials have warned Britain off trying to "cherry pick" the benefits of membership and said it will be left worse off outside the bloc than inside. Such firms sold 7.3 billion euros ($8.2 billion) worth of goods to customers in Britain past year, their fourth-biggest market.

"We have a long way to go but we're off to a promising start", said Davis, the UK's Secretary of State for Brexit.

Talks on Britain leaving the European Union began Monday with both sides saying they will focus first on an orderly withdrawal: a deal for citizens living in each other's territory, border arrangements between Ireland and the United Kingdom and the amount that Britain will pay to get out of previous EU commitments.

The Brexit Secretary said: "The position hasn't changed, we have the Lancaster House speech, the two white papers, and the Article 50 letter, all backed up by a manifesto too".

As for the UK, Davis attempted to build bridges with Barnier in front of the cameras, suggesting that "there is more that unites us than to divide us".

"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.

He added: "The United Kingdom has made a decision to leave the European Union, it is not the other way around".

"We need back control of our borders, we will leave the single market and the customs union." he said.

Brexit negotiations which could define the UK's political and economic future have begun, with David Davis calling for a "new deep and special partnership" between Britain and Brussels.

The negotiations kick off in Brussels on Monday with Britain under pressure for stalling the talks and entering the negotiations without a working parliamentary majority fully in place.

The reportedly planning to make a generous offer to the 3 million European Union nationals living in Britain so long as it's reciprocated for the 1 million Britons residing on the continent.

Roth said that "Brexit is a very, very hard operation" and there's only a bit over a year to negotiate it. "But we want to keep the door open for the British".