Britain-EU Brexit talks to start Monday as planned

"All the options are balanced and come with obligations", an European Union official working on Brexit said, noting that May had seemed to be looking for a sweeping free trade deal like that agreed previous year with Canada but that some of those calling for "soft" Brexit cited arrangements such as those with Norway and Turkey.

That problem is compounded by the fact that May has yet to strike a deal with Northern Ireland's Democratic Unionist Party that would give her the extra votes in Parliament she needs for a working majority.

Such comments would mark a departure from Prime Minister Theresa May's position, who earlier this week signalled she would not compromise over Brexit and is looking to stick to the pre-election Conservative plan on the terms of the UK's exit.

Northern Ireland's frontier with the Republic of Ireland will be the UK's only land border with the European Union after Brexit.

Like many in the bloc, Mr Verhofstadt has always been critical of the rebate that then-prime minister Margaret Thatcher secured in the 1980s, which means Britain gets about half of its European Union budget contributions back. The party has refused to give a time frame for reaching a deal, though May is due in Brussels for an European Union summit on June 22-23 when she will want to show she has a solid grip on power.

There has been uncertainty over whether May will still be able to pursue a "hard Brexit" after a humiliating defeat in the general election left her short of a parliamentary majority and requiring the support of other parties.

"We've set out the broad principles from where we will start the negotiation and we will negotiate in good faith, but it is a negotiation and we recognise there will be an exchange of views and we will take that forward in a spirit of genuine cooperation", Chancellor of the Exchequer Philip Hammond told reporters in Luxembourg on Friday.

Democratic Unionists in Northern Ireland become election key
She is regarded as having performed well during the campaign, which was marred by deadly attacks in Manchester and London . That is short of the 326 needed for an overall majority -- and 12 fewer than when May called the election.

"As we enter negotiations next week, we will do so in a spirit of cooperation, taking a pragmatic approach, trying to find a solution that works both for the United Kingdom and the European Union 27", he told reporters before a meeting of the 28 EU finance ministers in Luxembourg.

"The withdrawal and future are intimately linked". Hammond is positioning himself as the main negotiator within the cabinet to hammer out a blueprint for Brexit acceptable to the whole party, the Treasury official said.

"We believe that the withdrawal process can not be concluded without the future relationship also being taken into account", the spokesman said.

If Davis, who launches the formal negotiations with Barnier on Monday, can show British willing on the EU's priority "Phase One" issues, then trade talks could get under way by the turn of the year - a step-by-step timetable Barnier says must be followed to limit the risk of a disruptive "no deal" scenario.

"We're anxious to know how they want to leave, that's the process we're in right now and I frankly believe they will continue with that and they will leave", he said.

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.

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