June 19, 2017 / 9:26 AM / 9 months ago

Britain says will be "positive and constructive" in Brexit talks

BRUSSELS (Reuters) - The chief Brexit negotiators of the European Union and Britain began talks on Monday by stressing the need to quickly tackle uncertainties in the process and underlining their constructive attitude to reach a deal that is good for all.

The European Union's chief Brexit negotiator Michael Barnier (R) welcomes Britain's Secretary of State for Exiting the European Union David Davis at the European Commission ahead of their first day of talks in Brussels, June 19, 2017. REUTERS/Francois Lenoir

The European Union’s Michel Barnier said he hoped the talks, starting almost a year to the day after a British referendum vote to leave the EU, would establish a timetable for the negotiations.

“We must first tackle the uncertainties caused by Brexit - first for citizens but also for the beneficiaries of the EU policies and for the impact on borders, in particular Ireland,” Barnier told reporters at the start of the talks.

“I hope that today we can identify priorities and a timetable that would allow me to report to the European Council later this week that we had a constructive opening of negotiations,” he said.

Britain’s Brexit minister David Davis said London wanted a deep and special relationship with the EU after the divorce and that he would conduct the talks in a constructive tone.

“There’s more that unites us than divides us, so 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,” Davis said.

“To that end we are starting this negotiation in a positive and constructive tone, determined to build a strong and special partnership between ourselves and our European allies and friends for the future,” he said.

Reporting By Jan Strupczewski and Elizabeth Miles; Editing by Alastair Macdonald and Gareth Jones

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