LONDON — Britain’s Brexit minister David Davis said the country wanted to strike "a deal like no other in history" as formal talks on quitting the EU were set to begin in Brussels on Monday.
Davis is to meet Michel Barnier, the EU’s chief Brexit negotiator, to kick off hugely complex withdrawal negotiations that are expected to conclude within two years.
"Today marks the start of negotiations that will shape the future of the European Union and the United Kingdom, and the lives of our citizens," Davis said in a statement.
"We want both sides to emerge strong and prosperous, capable of projecting our shared European values, leading in the world, and demonstrating our resolve to protect the security of our citizens."
Britain’s Brexit ministry said the team travelling to Brussels was confident it could achieve a "bold and ambitious deal" and forge a new, close arrangement with the bloc.
"The UK will remain a committed partner and ally of our friends across the continent," Davis said.
"And while there is a long road ahead, our destination is clear -- a deep and special partnership between the UK and the EU. A deal like no other in history.
"I look forward to beginning work on that new future."
Worried by mass immigration and loss of sovereignty, Britain last year voted to end its decades-old membership of the 28-nation bloc in a shock referendum result.
Finance minister Philip Hammond confirmed on Sunday that Britain would be leaving not just the EU but also the single market and the customs union. — AFP