Arriving for a meeting with his counterparts in the 28-country EU, Hammond said his "clear view and I believe the view of the majority of people in Britain is that we should prioritize protecting jobs, protecting economic growth and protecting prosperity as we enter those negotiations and take them forward". Nearly a year after Britain voted to leave its biggest market, the talks come amid signs the United Kingdom is softening its approach to the split and adopting a more conciliatory tone.
"Michel Barnier, the European Commission's Chief Negotiator, and David Davis, Secretary of State for Exiting the European Union, agreed today to launch Article 50 negotiations on Monday, June 19", the statement said.
"As the European Union has itself said, "nothing is agreed, until everything is agreed".
The Brexit Department said in a statement that the UK's withdrawal and future ties are "intimately linked".
"As we set out in the Article 50 letter, our view is that withdrawal agreement and terms of the future relationship must be agreed alongside each other", a spokesman for the department, which is headed up by David Davis, said.
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He wouldn't be drawn on whether he supported Britain's continued membership of the single market or the customs union.
Ms May has been subject to mounting pressure to soften her approach on Brexit, after her decision to call an election to obtain a mandate for her vision of Brexit backfired.
Barnier and British Brexit Secretary David Davis will open the talks on Monday at 11 a.m.in Brussels with the aim of wrapping up a deal by the end of 2018 so that it can be ratified by the European and British parliaments before the United Kingdom leaves the bloc in March 2019.
There was speculation that chaos in Britain, caused by last week's shock general election outcome, would lead to Brexit negotiations being delayed.
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