Wednesday

20th Feb 2019

First Brexit meeting to focus on organisation

  • Barnier will welcome the UK negotiators in the Commission's headquarter on Monday. (Photo: European Commission)

The EU’s chief negotiator Michel Barnier and the UK’s Brexit minister David Davis will meet on Monday (19 June) for the first round of negotiations on the UK leaving the EU, almost a year after a majority of British voters decided in a referendum to quit the club.

After intensive talks on the start date, the negotiations will go ahead as planned by the EU, two days before the programme of British prime minister Theresa May’s new cabinet will be set out in the Queen’s speech on Wednesday (21 June).

Read and decide

Join EUobserver today

Support quality EU news

Get instant access to all articles — and 18 year's of archives. 30 days free trial.

... or join as a group

Barnier will welcome Davis in the Berlaymont building, the headquarter of the European Commission, along with Sabine Weyand, the EU’s deputy negotiator, the UK’s Brexit secretary Olly Robbins and other officials at 11:00 am.

They will have a working lunch, followed by breakout sessions throughout the afternoon for working groups discussions. Barnier and Davis are expected to hold a joint press conference around 6:30 pm.

The talks will be conducted in French and English.

The initial meeting is expected to focus on how the talks will be structured, as the two sides still need to agree on the EU’s proposal of four-week negotiating cycles.

Negotiators are expected to later move onto the key issues of citizens’ rights, the financial settlement, and the border between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland.

But no further dates for talks have been agreed as of now.

According to a source, it is likely that the UK will agree to negotiating cycles in line with the EU’s proposal. This means that each round of talks will consist of the first two weeks to work on negotiating positions, the third week for talks, and the fourth week for feedback and perhaps more talks at a political level.

The negotiations will be headed by the Commission’s team on the EU side, but the Council’s working group made up of diplomats from the 27 member states would be on-call for feedback.

Later next week, Barnier will debrief the EU 27 leaders on the first round of talks, who will in Brussels for the traditional June EU summit.

Philip Hammond, the UK’s chancellor of the exchequer, said on Friday that the government will want a mutually beneficial agreement.

“As we enter negotiations, we will do so in the spirit of sincere cooperation, taking a pragmatic approach to trying to find a solution that works both for the UK and for the European Union 27,” he told journalists in Luxembourg.

He said that the Brexit notification letter sent by Theresa May in March will be the basis for the negotiations for the UK, suggesting that the starting point would remain a “hard Brexit”.

Hammond has reportedly advocated for a softer landing, urging May to keep the UK in the customs union.

"We should prioritise protecting jobs, economic growth and prosperity,” he said on Friday.

Brexit talks begin amid uncertainty

As Brexit negotiations start today with the first EU member ever to leave the bloc, the level of uncertainty on what comes next remains as high as on Brexit referendum day almost one year ago.

UK agrees to EU conditions on Brexit talks

In their first meeting, the EU's Michel Barnier and Brexit minister David Davis agreed that talks on future relations will start only when "sufficient progress" has been made on divorce proceedings.

News in Brief

  1. British PM to batter against EU wall on Brexit
  2. Hungary and Slovakia break EU line on Jerusalem
  3. Germany and France to overhaul EU competition law
  4. Estonia kicks out Danske Bank over money laundering scandal
  5. May and Juncker meet over Brexit on Wednesday
  6. EU promises to open up advisory groups
  7. EU agrees to limit CO2 emissions by trucks
  8. Juncker under attack in Hungary government ad

Opinion

Lost in Brexit chaos - abortion rights in Northern Ireland

Labour MP Diana Johnson has brought a private members bill to Westminster that proposes to decriminalise abortion in the whole of the UK, which means that, if successfully passed, current provisions for Northern Ireland will also be repealed.

May on whistle-stop EU tour to seek new backstop pledges

The British prime minister dramatically delayed a parliamentary vote on the Brexit deal at the last minute, as she faced defeat. Theresa May will now speed-tour EU capitals to try to secure further political guarantees.

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Nordic Council of MinistersMilestone for Nordic-Baltic e-ID
  2. Counter BalanceEU bank urged to free itself from fossil fuels and take climate leadership
  3. Intercultural Dialogue PlatformRoundtable: Muslim Heresy and the Politics of Human Rights, Dr. Matthew J. Nelson
  4. Platform for Peace and JusticeTurkey suffering from the lack of the rule of law
  5. UNESDASoft Drinks Europe welcomes Tim Brett as its new president
  6. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic ministers take the lead in combatting climate change
  7. Counter BalanceEuropean Parliament takes incoherent steps on climate in future EU investments
  8. International Partnership For Human RightsKyrgyz authorities have to immediately release human rights defender Azimjon Askarov
  9. Nordic Council of MinistersSeminar on disability and user involvement
  10. Nordic Council of MinistersInternational appetite for Nordic food policies
  11. Nordic Council of MinistersNew Nordic Innovation House in Hong Kong
  12. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic Region has chance to become world leader when it comes to start-ups

Latest News

  1. 'No evidence' ECB bond-buying helped euro economy
  2. Juncker: Orban should leave Europe's centre-right
  3. College of Europe alumni ask rector to cut Saudi ties
  4. EU says Hungary's anti-Juncker campaign is fake news
  5. Trump right for once: Europe should take back foreign fighters
  6. EU should clarify rules for plant burgers and lab meat
  7. Italian populists could be second biggest force in EU parliament
  8. Merkel defends Russia ties, ridicules Trump on cars

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us