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EU, Britain Begin Months of Divorce Proceedings

July 17, 2017

The European Union and Britain have begun the first substantive round of negotiations on their separation, with both sides saying it is time to proceed quickly.

Speaking to reporters Monday at the European Commission's Berlaymont headquarters, Britain's Secretary of State for Exiting the European Union David Davis said at the start of a four-day session on the divorce proceedings that “it is incredibly important we now make good progress.''

EU chief negotiator, Michel Barnier, said that "We will now delve into the heart of the matter. We need to examine and compare our respective positions in order to make good progress."

Barnier and Davis declined further comment, but the EU envoy said they would brief the media Thursday. At a one-day session in June both sides agreed on a broad timetable for the talks.

The negotiations this week are expected to focus on the post-Brexit rights of citizens in each other's nations, the bill Britain has to pay to meet existing commitments, the border issue in Ireland and the pre-eminence of the EU's Court of Justice.

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