Germany has hinted it would be willing to grant the UK Brexit concessions amid fears that talks could collapse if Theresa May is ousted as Prime Minister as a result of Brussels playing hard ball, according to reports.
Germany is reportedly willing to be flexible during negotiations which formally get underway today and could offer the UK a so-called soft Brexit deal.
Such a deal could involve the UK being offered access to the European single market and granted concessions on curtailing the influence of EU judges in return for Britain accepting some element of free movement, according to The Times.
Sigmar Gabriel, the German foreign minister, told the German Welt am Sonntag newspaper: "Perhaps there is now a chance to achieve a so-called soft Brexit."
It is thought that EU negotiators are keen to make clear that the bloc is willing to compromise during talks.
They are reportedly afraid that a hard line position would lead to increased domestic pressure on Mrs May’s already weakened position and that she could then be ousted during what should be a crucial summer of talks.
One EU negotiatior said that a weak Tory government “increases the risk” of no deal being done and that “we do not want to be the ones making the situation more difficult”.
David Davis, the Brexit Secretary, is meeting with Michel Barnier, the European Union's chief negotiator, in Brussels for a one-day session which will close late on Monday afternoon with a joint press conference.
The meeting has been dubbed "talks about talks" with the European Commission saying that the summit would take place "as part of the sequenced approach to the talks" which require progress to be made on withdrawal arrangements before any talks on trade can begin.