At a joint news conference with visiting British Prime Minister Theresa May in Paris on Tuesday, France's new president, Emmanuel Macron, said "the door remains open" for the United Kingdom to change its mind about Brexit.
The EU has pressed for openness and a press conference is expected at the end of the first day. That's up from March, when most respondents to a YouGov survey said that they did not support a second referendum.
HSBC, Europe's biggest bank, has said it could move up to 1,000 investment bankers to Paris, where the bank has a licence and significant operations, in the event of a hard Brexit that would mean losing access to the single market.
This remains the firm posture of her government - and the general consensus of other political parties in Westminster - today.
The issue most likely to torpedo negotiations is Britain's bill for leaving the bloc.
That problemis 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.
In Prime Minister Theresa May's letter triggering Article 50, she states: "We believe it's necessary to agree the terms of our future partnership alongside those of our withdrawal from the European Union'".
In Luxembourg, Britain's finance minister said that protecting jobs and the economy should be the main focus in upcoming discussions.
May's two predecessors as Tory PM, David Cameron and John Major, likewise urged her to reconsider her posture.
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"If the hard Brexit transformed into a soft Brexit that's as well very good news for us because it will be less hassle and we will be able to do much more things from London". The former work and pensions secretary is a passionate pro-European and was a leading figure in last year's Remain campaign.
"We're leaving the EU and because we are leaving the EU, we will be leaving the single market and by the way, we will be leaving the customs union".
Britain gave official notification that it would leave the European Union at the end of March, meaning it will leave the bloc, which is its biggest trading partner, in March 2019.
Instead, she said that she wants to negotiate a "bold and ambitious" new trade agreement that replicates as far as possible the existing trade arrangements.
However, even before the talks have begun, the European side has expressed concern that the British have underestimated just what is required to make such an agreement work. Because of such a radical drop, workforce experts have said the National Health Service is now facing its worst nursing crisis in 20 years.
The government on Saturday said parliament would hold a special two-year session starting this week, sitting for double the normal time to allow it to overhaul European Union legislation.
But European Council president Donald Tusk and other senior EU officials have consistently ruled out parallel talks.
Oddly, while 21 months is a very short time for the Brexit negotiations, it could be extremely long in Britain's politics.
British Prime Minister Theresa May has repeatedly insisted the British Government is prepared to walk away from the talks, claiming no deal is better than a bad deal.
The arch-federalist former Belgian PM, who this year published a book calling on EU states to forge "a more ideal Union", warned last week Britain could lose its rebate and opt-outs if it changes its mind and decides to stay.
Xuan Loc Doan is a UK-based researcher.
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