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19 June 2017, 06:32 | Melissa Porter
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Other officials around the table include Glyn Williams, Director-General at the Home Office, who will bring his expertise on immigration issues and Catherine Webb, a former treasury official, who is Director of Market Access at DExEU.
'I think the whole process will lead to a happy resolution which can be done with honour and profit to both sides, ' Johnson said as he went into an European Union foreign ministers meeting in Luxembourg.
United Kingdom negotiator David Davis and the EU's Barnier have one key issue over the first weeks of talks: building trust after months of haggling over leaks and figures over the final bill that Britain would have to pay for leaving.
With a further million British expatriates in the EU, Ms May too wants a deal on citizens' rights, though the two sides are some way apart.
Typically long and complex to negotiate, an FTA is an agreement between at least two countries to cooperate on reducing trade barriers such as import quotas and tariffs so as to increase the trade of goods and sometimes services between them.
But a last-ditch climbdown means it will top the agenda along with the divorce bill and the rights of European Union and British citizens after Brexit. The EU side has been suggesting it will be looking for a settlement of around £50 billion in respect of the UK's outstanding liabilities.
Brussels is also resisting British demands for immediate talks on a future free trade arrangement. Expect plenty of wrangling to come.
Brussels and London have finally agreed that the negotiations on the UK's exit from the EU (Brexit) will begin on Monday, June 19.
Mr Barnier made clear that Brussels intends to stick to its timetable of dealing with the terms of Britain's withdrawal before moving on to discussing future trade relations.
This morning the Foreign Secretary, Boris Johnson, also signalled an upbeat shift in the government's tone of voice about the talks, which need to be concluded by March 2019 when Britain is due to leave the EU. He said he views the talks with "informed optimism". It could be a bumpy ride ahead.
Monday's talks however are likely to focus on the practical details of timings for the coming months, with the big, divisive issues left aside for now, officials said.
How long have they got to sort this out? .
But the British government still wants to negotiate its future trade relationship with the European Union "alongside" talks on the terms for Brexit.
The formal mechanism for exiting the EU: the clause in the 2007 Lisbon treaty that allows any member state "to withdraw from the union in accordance with its own constitutional requirements". It could be quite a tall order.
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