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In Brussels, weakened May to outline guarantees for European Union expats in Britain

The European Union says after a first day of talks on Britain’s exit from the 28-member bloc that the clock is ticking on negotiations, but British Brexit minister David Davis said he’s optimistic they will yield a swift and good outcome.She will seek to reassure leaders of her commitment to a fair Brexit deal for both sides by presenting an overview of the UK’s intentions regarding the estimated 3.2 million European Union citizens now living in Britain.We want to find the best solution for them and their families, “said Michel Barnier, the EU’s chief negotiator for Brexit”.”We must first tackle the uncertainties caused by Brexit, first for citizens but also for the beneficiaries of European Union policies and for the impact on borders, in particular Ireland”.A special dialogue involving senior negotiators from each side has been set up to consider the issue, with Mr Davis’ official Olly Robbins holding talks with Mr Barnier’s deputy Sabine Weyand on the issue.The U.K. and the European Union started talks on Britain’s exit from the bloc Monday morning, nearly a year after the U.K. voted to leave, with EU chief negotiator saying he hoped the two sides can start removing the uncertainties created by that decision.”There is more that unites us than divides us”, he said, adding that Britain was looking for a “positive and constructive tone” in the talks.”It is a first good step which we appreciate”, said Austrian Chancellor Christian Kern. In this case, the United Kingdom would trade with the EU-and the rest of the world-on the basis of the rules of the World Trade Organization (WTO).On the eve of the referendum anniversary, European Union diplomats say they remain in the dark about key aspects of the UK’s Brexit plans.”We will nearly certainly need an implementation period, outside the (EU’s) customs union itself, but with current customs border arrangements remaining in place, until new long-term arrangements are up and running”, he said, in a speech yesterday.Soros went on to say Brexit negotiations would take at least five years to complete, during which time another General Election would likely be held.Only when “sufficient, concrete progress” on the first phase has been made will Mr Barnier recommend to the European Council that the negotiations can enter the next stage, taking in the future trading relationship, with that recommendation possibly coming at October’s summit of EU leaders.May has pushed for a “hard Brexit” in which existing agreements over trade and free movement of people would be blown up and renegotiated.”We have to commit ourselves now mutually to guarantee rights to citizens on either side of the Channel so they can continue their lives as in the past”, Mr Barnier said.There will be a “two-phased” negotiation, with divorce terms to be set first before talks on future trade relations. Both sides need an agreement to keep trade flowing between the world’s biggest trading bloc and the fifth-largest global economy.Macron, a committed pro-EU leader and ally of Merkel, also easily won French legislative elections on Sunday, cementing his power base.