Brexit Secretary David Davis starts negotiations in Brussels on Monday that will set the terms on which Britain leaves the European Union. As Ivor Bennett reports, pressure from British business groups is mounting for a deal that will not damage the UK economy.
It's almost a year to the day since Britain voted to the leave the EU. And the discussions over what comes next are finally underway. A moment only one side appeared to be enjoying. (SOUNDBITE) (English) BRITISH BREXIT SECRETARY, DAVID DAVIS, SAYING: "We will do all we can to ensure that we deliver a deal that works in the best interests of all citizens. To that end we are starting this negotiation in a positive and constructive tone." (SOUNDBITE) (English) EU BREXIT NEGOTIATOR, MICHEL BARNIER, SAYING: "I hope that today we can identify priorities and a timetable." The UK has previously said it would pursue a so-called hard Brexit - a clean break from the single market and customs union. But that was before the general election. Without a majority in parliament, Theresa May's colleagues are now adopting a more conciliatory tone. (SOUNDBITE) (English) BRITISH FOREIGN MINISTER, BORIS JOHNSON, SAYING: "Well I think the whole thing, the whole process will lead to a happy resolution that I think can be done with profit and with honour for both sides, and that's what we're aiming for." Some business groups hope that'll mean a softer Brexit. 5 of them calling on the UK to put the economy first and retain access to the single market. Heavy lifting is to put it mildly. SOUNDBITE (English) CRAIG ERLAM, SENIOR MARKETS ANALYST, OANDA, SAYING: "The access to the single market is conditional on free movement of people. And that is something that Theresa May has claimed was a major part of people's decision to vote to leave the last year. So you can't have it both ways. Or as the EU keep saying, having our cake and eating it too." Whatever the deal, though, some are still betting there'll be plenty of cake to go around. Jaguar Land Rover saying it will hire 5000 new staff in the UK before the talks end, despite no indication yet of what they will bring.