Brexit talks set to begin next week

The news comes amid changes in both Dublin and London

Brexit talks set to begin next week

File photo of an EU flag flying in front of the UK Houses of Parliament in London | Image: Victoria Jones/PA Wire/PA Images

Britain and the European Union are to begin Brexit negotiations next week.

The UK's Department for Exiting the European Union says the first round of talks will start on Monday June 19th.

It says following discussions in Brussels on Thursday, both sides agreed that formal negotiations under the Article 50 process can now start.

In a joint statement, officials said: "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 news comes amid changes in both London and Dublin.

It had been suggested negotiations could have been delayed by the failure of any parties to win a majority in last week's British general election.

British Prime Minister Theresa May is in the process of trying to secure a minority government with Northern Ireland's Democratic Unionist Party.

However a deal for Downing Street could be close, as a new date has been set for the opening of the UK parliament.

The leader of Britain's House of Commons said the state opening will take place on June 21st.

While newly-appointed Foreign Affairs Minister Simon Coveney was given special responsibility for Brexit just yesterday.

Minister Coveney has met colleagues in the consular and passport divisions of the Department of Foreign Affairs.

Majority want Brexit

A new poll, meanwhile, finds that a majority of the British public still think the government there should press on with Brexit.

YouGov says that although the country is split down the middle over whether leaving the EU was the right or wrong decision, there is still a majority who think Brexit should happen.

Overall, 70% think that the UK government should go ahead with Brexit, with this group being split between those that actually support it (44%) and those who do not personally back it - but think the government has a duty to go ahead with it regardless (26%).

The good news for Mrs May is that the majority still approve of negotiating targets she set out in January.

Source: YouGov

At least half of the British public would be personally happy with them (50%), think they would be good for the country (52%), and believe they respect the result of the referendum (61%).

However, the result from last week's general election seems to have made the public less confident in her ability to deliver on them.

Only 37% say they have confidence in Mrs May's ability to negotiate the sort of Brexit she wants.

There has also been a slump in the proportion of people who think that the UK government is doing a good job on Brexit - declining from 40% in April to 22% now.