The chief EU negotiator, Michel Barnier stated his position:
“The UK has asked to leave the EU, not the other way around, so we each have to assume the consequences of our decisions and the consequences are substantial.” Asked if the EU would be making concessions he said “Please do not underestimate those consequences.”
“We need to remain calm, we are talking about orderly withdrawal first and that makes sense. It’s not something we are asking for in order to get concessions, it’s just a direct consequence of the UK decision.”
He made it clear that this was not a manoeuvring technique but merely how the discussions should proceed:
“I am not in a frame of mind to make concessions or ask for concessions, we are looking to unravel 43 years of patiently built relations.”
David Davis, acting as the head of Britain’s negotiators seems to have changed his stance somewhat since appearing on ITV with Robert Peston on 14th May 2017.
Back then he had totally rejected the EU’s proposed timetable for Brexit the discussions saying:
“How on earth do you resolve the issue of the border with Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland unless you know what our general borders policy is, what the customs agreement is, what our trade agreement is? It’s wholly illogical.”
His prediction that talks about the sequence of the negotiations was:
“That’ll be the row of the summer.”
Yesterday however the British Negotiators accepted the EU’s proposed timetable in full.
David Davis maintained this remained in line with government strategy and following the conclusion of the first day of formal negotiations said:
“It’s not how it starts, it’s how it finishes that matters, nothing is agreed until everything is agreed.”
Of interest to EEA citizens living in the UK; it was also announced that Theresa May will visit Brussels on Thursday 22 June 2017 to reveal the terms of what Whitehall sources describe as a “generous” offer guaranteeing the rights of EU citizens living in the UK. (It is presumed this will include all EEA citizens as well). The full paper is to be published on Monday. – Watch this space.