ALSO READBritain is gearing up for EU rows, Brexit minister says Britain to launch Brexit process on March 29 - EU sources Britain warns EU: we'll find ways to compete if no trade deal Britain's EU envoy says Brexit aims unknown, deplores 'muddled thinking' - BBC With the clock ticking, Britain, EU play up chance of deal
"Both for the EU and the UK, a fair deal is possible, and far better than no deal, that is what I say to David today, that is why we will work all the time with the UK and never against the UK," chief negotiator Michel Barnier said at a press conference on Monday, after wrapping up the opening salvo of the Brexit talks in Brussels.
He hailed that the the first session was "important", "open", and "useful indeed to start off on the right foot as the clock is ticking", Xinhua news reported.
"Today we agreed on dates, we agreed on organisation, and we agreed on priorities for the negotiation," he said, outlining a two-step negotiation.
"In the first step, the negotiation rounds will be broken down into three groups -- citizen rights, the single financial settlement, and other separation issues," Barnier said.
"These groups will report back to their respective principles during each negotiation week. David Davis and I, as chief EU negotiator, will discuss the issues together, tackle difficulties, and lift obstacles," he added.
"Then in the second step, we scope our future partnership; we also agree on how we structure our tools."
Barnier said the two sides will have one week of negotiation every month, and use the time in between to work on proposals and exchange them.
"There will be no austerity on my side, I will display a constructive attitude firmly based on interests and support of the (EU) 27, and I will all the time seek to the continued support of the European Parliament," he said.
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