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Finally, Britain kicks off Brexit negotiations with EU

19 June 2017

With Britain's negotiations on the terms of its departure from the European Union set to begin on Monday, the country risks skills shortages and losing business if it ends freedom of movement without a new plan for attracting workers, the report by the National Institute of Economic and Social Research and the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development said. A deal like no other in history.

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As has been the case throughout the run-up to the official talks, the main emphasis of the preview was on the U.K.'s desire to secure a future relationship with the EU.

Those issues are Britain's exit bill, estimated by Brussels at around €100 billion (RM477 billion), the rights of three million European Union nationals living in Britain and one million Britons on the continent, and the status of the border between Northern Ireland and Ireland.

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The European Commission declined to comment.

While the European Union negotiating team led by Michel Barnier has been ready for months, Britain stalled even after it triggered the two-year process on March 29.

Anxious by mass immigration and loss of sovereignty, Britain previous year voted to end its decades-old membership of the 28-nation bloc in a shock referendum result.

Threats by Britain to walk away without a deal have also anxious European capitals.

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"Despite European leaders' attempts to leave open the possibility of the United Kingdom remaining in the EU, Mr. Davis will make it clear that he is determined to achieve a Brexit deal that works for the whole of the United Kingdom", the government said.

Yet many in Brussels fear that London has no real strategy, with May under pressure at home, still trying to close a deal with a conservative Northern Ireland party to stay in power, and facing criticism for her handling of the aftermath of a devastating tower block fire.

British Prime Minister Theresa May has said that the vote one year ago was partly a vote for Britain to control its borders, and has said that Britain will leave Europe's single market, as membership is incompatible with restricting immigration. Before May and the Tories lost their majority, there was no doubt Brexit meant Brexit.

But he warned that "we need to get there via a slope, not via a cliff edge".

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