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Round 1: Brexit talks start at Brussels

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Mark Spencer

European Union's chief Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier and his delegation and Britain's Secretary of State for Exiting the European Union David Davis and his delegation attend a first full round of talks on Britain's divorce terms from the European Union, in Brussels, Belgium, July 17, 2017.

As doubt for and objection to Brexit continue, progress favorable to those in support of the breaking away has been made, creating a silver lining for the closely watched second round of talks.

Barnier and Davis last month agreed on a potential timetable for negotiations towards a future trade relationship, which Britain would like to start as soon as possible.

The Chancellor, Phillip Hammond, accused his rivals in the Cabinet of trying to undermine his plans for a business-friendly withdrawal over the weekend.

Davis is attempting to accelerate a dialogue between himself and Barnier, open divisions in British Prime Minister Theresa May's cabinet make it hard to determine the British course of action, Bloomberg News said Monday.

But, like non-EU immigrants now, they would lose the right to vote in local elections in Britain and would be subject to minimum salary requirements to be able to bring family members into the country.

The priorities, notably rights for expatriate citizens, how much Britain may owe to the EU budget and how to manage the new EU-UK border, especially with Ireland, are ones both sides want to settle in a withdrawal treaty.

European Union leaders are set to decide at a summit in October whether there is enough common ground to move on to trade talks.

Dozens of officials from both sides are involved, some shuttling among meeting rooms scattered over almost half the floors of the European Commission's 13-storey Berlaymont headquarters, fuelled, one said, by EU coffee and biscuits.

"I don't see these great divisions that are suggested to me in the Sunday newspapers and I have to say I think all of this is somewhat overplayed", he told BBC Radio 4's Today programme.

In March, Prime Minister Theresa May had set a two-year timetable for leaving the European Union, and insisted the process can not be reversed.

The negotiation is expected to be complicated, as May's minority government will face challenges at every step in the process.

Pictures showed no notes on the table in front of Davis and his two advisers, in contrast to sheaves of paperwork brought by Barnier and his team.

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