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UK's Hammond says economy should be priority in Brexit talks

UK's Hammond says economy should be priority in Brexit talks

Both sides have said settling the question of whether European Union citizens living in the United Kingdom, and British expats in European Union countries, will have the right to remain after Brexit is a top priority.

An EU official close to the matter said the "softer Brexit" talk could be "productive" and help progress in the first months, where the British attitude to discussing the financial settlement "will be the first serious test of the negotiations".

"Our view is that a withdrawal agreement and terms of the future relationship must be agreed alongside each other", the department said in a statement Friday.

Since her gamble on a snap election failed a week ago, May has come under pressure from some in her own party to change her approach to Brexit talks.

"We believe that the withdrawal process can not be concluded without the future relationship also being taken into account", the spokesman said. As the European Union has itself said, "nothing is agreed, until everything is agreed".

Nicola Sturgeon took to Twitter to point out that this was all happening before May had managed to secure any agreement with the DUP to prop up her fledgling minority government.

In Luxembourg, Britain's finance minister said that protecting jobs and the economy should be the main focus in upcoming discussions.

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The European Union (EU) and the European Commission (EC) said in a joint statement that they have set a date to begin Brexit talks with the UK.

Mr Hammond said on Friday: "I can confirm that as we enter negotiations next week, we will do so in a spirit of honest cooperation, taking a pragmatic approach to trying to find a solution that works both for the United Kingdom and for the European Union 27".

"We're not going to get into - and I know there has been a lot of talk about our position in relation to social issues for example - those are matters for the Northern Ireland assembly. We will continue with those negotiations throughout the weekend and into next week". The inconclusive elections in Britain have further complicated matters.

The withdrawal and future are intimately linked."EU leaders have given chief Brussels negotiator Michel Barnier no authority to so much as talk about future trade with Britain until he clinches outline deals on Brussels' priority issues, including London's exit bill.Addressing her party on Monday after one of its most memorable electoral failures, May said she would take a broader, more consultative approach to the Brexit talks.But after a generation of discord over Europe inside her party, May's future could depend on her ability to please both the eurosceptic and pro-European factions in her party". Other costs include the relocation of the EU's United Kingdom based medicine agency and banking authority.

The spokesman said: "We want to end the anxiety facing four million citizens".

They face massive uncertainty on health benefits, pensions, taxes, employment and education.

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