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June 28, 2017

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Brexit talks to begin amid post-election fallout in Britain

BRUSSELS -- Negotiations between the European Union and Britain over the country's exit from the bloc are set to begin on Monday, even as British Prime Minister Theresa May grapples with the fallout from an election that cost her party its parliamentary majority.

Negotiators from the two sides agreed to go ahead with the originally-planned start date of June 19 despite the snap election called by May backfiring, leaving her with a minority government and questions over that government's ability to begin the talks.

May and other senior officials, including Brexit Secretary David Davis, stressed last week that the British government's priorities and timetable for negotiations had not changed as a result of the election.

Chancellor of the Exchequer Philip Hammond said on Friday that protecting jobs and the British economy would be priorities for his country.

"My 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 into negotiations," he said.

The talks are set to kick off at 11 a.m. (0900 GMT) in Brussels with a meeting between Davis and the EU's chief Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier.

The program includes a working lunch and a closing session between the two top negotiators and meetings between their deputies.

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