Monday January 19 marked the official start of negotiations to determine the terms for UK’s departure from the EU. David Davis met with Michel Barnier throughout the day in an effort to establish a framework for the talks ahead.
As expected, little of substance was achieved in the initial meeting. However, the two sides agreed that there will be once week of negotiations every month and working groups have been established to focus on the three areas of citizen’s rights, the financial settlement and “other separation issues”.
Significantly, reports suggest that the UK has accepted the EU’s position (as set out in EU Council issues Draft Negotiating Guidelines) that initial talks would be limited to the terms of the UK’s departure and that negotiations as to the UK’s future relationship with the EU would only begin once sufficient progress had been made on those issues. The UK had initially wanted trade talks to begin immediately but appears to have softened its stance in this regard.