Brexit negotiations have finally begun in Brussels, almost a year to the day after Britain voted to leave the European Union.
David Davis, the UK Secretary of State for Leaving the EU, and the bloc’s Chief Negotiator for Brexit Michel Barnier met in Brussels for the first day of talks on Monday morning, as the two parties try to disentangle Britain from Europe.
First they will cover the logistics to try to formulate a timetable for the talks before more substantive negotiations begin next month.
Barnier said: “I hope that today we can identify priorites and a time table that would allow me to report to the European Council later this week that we had a constructive opening of negotiations.”
Davis also said he was optimistic for a “positive” and “constructive” start to the negotiations, which are going ahead as planned despite the results of the snap election called by Theresa May which saw the Conservative party lose its overall majority.
Davis said: “We will do all that we can to ensure that we deliver a deal that works in the best interests of all citizens. To that end, we are starting this negotation in a positive and constructive tone, determined to build a strong and special partnership between ourselves and our European allies and friends for the future.”
The pair met briefly in November, but will have plenty of time to develop a personal chemistry over the coming months.
However, they already appeared comfortable with each other and on first name terms.