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Statement by Michel Barnier 19 June 2017

Michel Barnier made the following statement at the end of the first day of negotiations with the UK:

Mesdames et Messieurs,

Je suis heureux de vous retrouver, aux côtés de David Davis, pour cette première conférence de presse commune.
I am pleased to meet you, along with David Davis, for this first joint press conference.

Cette première session était importante. Je peux dire aujourd’hui qu’elle a été utile.
This first session was important. I can say today that it was useful.

Ladies and gentlemen,

This first session was useful to start off on the right foot. And it was useful for me to sit down with my counterpart, David Davis. I look forward to working closely with you during this negotiation.

Today, we agreed on dates.

We agreed on organisation.

We agreed on priorities for the negotiation.

In a first step, we will deal with the most pressing issues. We must lift the uncertainty caused by Brexit. We want to make sure that the withdrawal of the UK happens in an orderly manner.

Then, in a second step, we will scope our future relationship.

We also agreed on how we will structure our talks. Our aim is to have one week of negotiations every month. And use the time in between to work on proposals and exchange them.

In the first phase, the negotiation rounds will be broken down into three groups: citizens’ rights, the single financial settlement, and other separation issues.
These groups will report back to their respective principals during each negotiating week.

David Davis and I, as Chief EU Negotiator, will discuss the issues together, tackle difficulties, lift obstacles.

We agreed that our closest collaborators will start a dialogue on Ireland. The protection of the Good Friday agreement and the maintenance of the Common Travel Area are the most urgent issues to discuss.

We also agreed on the importance of timing for this first phase.

Our objective is to agree on the main principles of the key challenges for the UK’s withdrawal as soon as possible. This includes citizens’ rights, the single financial settlement, and the question of the borders, in particular in Ireland.

The European Council can then decide on whether we can show sufficient progress, or not. And if we can move to scoping the future relationship on trade and other matters.

Mesdames et Messieurs,

Aujourd’hui, nous avons donc commencé à discuter de ces trois sujets clé dans le mandat que m’ont donné les 27.
Today, therefore, we have begun to discuss these three key issues in the mandate given to me by the 27

Nous devons nous engager mutuellement à garantir aux citoyens des deux côtés du channel qu’ils pourront continuer à vivre comme avant.
We must make a commitment to ensure that citizens on both sides of the channel can continue to live as they did before.

Nous devons solder les comptes et honorer nos engagements financiers mutuels.
We have to balance the accounts and honor our mutual financial commitments.

Nous devons trouver des solutions pour préserver tous les engagements du Good Friday Agreement.
We must find solutions to preserve all the commitments of the Good Friday Agreement.

C’est en levant les incertitudes sur ces sujets que nous poserons les bases de la confiance nécessaire pour bâtir un nouveau partenariat entre nous.
It is by removing the uncertainties on these subjects that we will lay the foundations of the confidence necessary to build a new partnership between us.

En quittant l’Union comme il a choisi de le faire, le Royaume-Uni n’aura plus les mêmes droits et bénéfices que les Etats membres de l’Union. Je suis cependant convaincu qu’il est dans notre intérêt commun d’établir un nouveau partenariat entre les 27 et le Royaume-Uni et que ce partenariat peut contribuer à la stabilité durable de notre continent.
Upon leaving the Union as it has chosen to do, the United Kingdom will no longer enjoy the same rights and benefits as the Member States of the Union. However, I am convinced that it is in our common interest to establish a new partnership between the 27 and the UK and that this partnership can contribute to the lasting stability of our continent.

Nous sommes à 27, avec les institutions, unis pour cette négociation et dans cette perspective. Mais, les 27 sont également unis pour, en toutes hypothèses, continuer à réformer, progresser, avancer ensemble.
We are 27, with the institutions, united for this negotiation and in this perspective. But, the 27 are also united to, in any case, continue to reform, progress, advance together.

Ladies and gentlemen,

For both the EU and the UK, a fair deal is possible and far better than no deal. That is what I said to David today. That is why we will work all the time with the UK, and never against the UK.

There will be no hostility on my side. I will display a constructive attitude, firmly based on the interest and support of the 27.

And I will all the time seek the continued support of the European Parliament.

Permettez-moi de terminer en citant Jean Monnet qui, quand on lui demandait s’il était optimiste ou pessimiste, répondait : ni l’un, ni l’autre, je suis déterminé. Voilà mon état d’esprit.
Let me finish by quoting Jean Monnet who, when asked if he was optimistic or pessimistic, replied: neither one nor the other, I am determined. That is my state of mind.


Statement by David Davis 19 June 2017

David Davis gave the following statement following the end of the first day of negotiations with the EU:

Firstly, I think we should start by recognising the very productive discussions that we’ve had today.

I’ve been encouraged by the constructive approach that both sides have taken.

We have laid a solid foundation for future discussions, with an ambitious but eminently achievable timetable.

It was clear from the opening that both of us want to achieve the best possible outcome and the strongest possible partnership.

One that works for the UK and for the EU.

And we agreed that we stand a much greater chance of success if our teams work together as that’s been demonstrated today.

Nowhere is this more true than on the important issues around the rights of our citizens — where I am happy to report there is much common ground.

Ever since the referendum, I have been clear that my first priority is to provide certainty to European Union citizens living in the United Kingdom, and to UK citizens resident in the European Union — and I know Michel shares that aspiration too.

So now that the negotiations have started, we are determined to get on with the job and deliver that certainty as soon as possible.

The Prime Minister will later this week update European leaders on the UK’s approach to this issue at the European Council.

We will then publish a detailed paper, outlining our offer on Monday, which I believe will form the right basis on which to reach agreement.

I will also be briefing members of other parties on privy council terms, as well as briefing Parliament more generally.

In addition to our discussion on citizens’ rights, we have reached agreement on how we will structure the talks over the coming months.

Michel and I will meet every four weeks, bringing our teams together for a number of days at a time.

We hope this regular rhythm will help us to progress our discussions across the full range of issues very quickly.

We have also established a number of technical working groups, tasked with driving progress on the all-important detail.

These groups of senior experts from both the UK and the EU met for the first time today.

They will support Michel and me by developing creative solutions to challenges we have identified, testing options under consideration, and building out the underpinning detail.

Today marks the start of a journey, for the United Kingdom and for the European Union.

There is a long way to go, but we are off to a promising start. We have taken the first, critical steps together.

Now, we have a shared responsibility to deliver quick and substantive progress.

As you heard Michel said, we had a brief exchange earlier about the distinction between being optimistic and being determined. And he gave you Monnet’s answer to that.

There is no doubt that the road ahead will at times be challenging, but as Winston Churchill once said:

“The pessimist sees difficulty in every opportunity.”

“The optimist sees the opportunity in every difficulty.”

And so bridging between Churchill and Monnet, I am certainly a determined optimist.


Terms of Reference for the Article 50 TEU negotiations

The following Terms of Reference have been agreed following the first day of talks between the UK and EU.


The negotiating rounds will consist of plenary sessions and negotiating group meetings.

The following initial negotiating groups have been established:

  • Citizens’ rights
  • Financial Settlement
  • Other Separation issues

In addition, a dialogue on Ireland / Northern Ireland has been launched under the authority of the Coordinators.

Future meetings, between the negotiating teams will be held once every 4 weeks unless otherwise decided by mutual consent. Negotiators may meet intersessionally to prepare negotiations, as required, and the following dates have been agreed

  • Opening: 19th June
  • Second round: w/c 17th July
  • Third round: w/c 28th August
  • Fourth round: w/c 18th September
  • Fifth round: w/c 9th October

Brexit – The UK Negotiating Team

Details about Civil Service members of the negotiating team for the UK during Brexit negotiations have been made available on the government website from the Department for Exiting the European Union.


They are

Read their biographies here

Biographies of the Civil Service representatives for the negotiations with the EU

Brexit – Opening Remarks by David Davis

The opening remarks by David Davis at the start of EU exit negotiations in Brussels.

I’m here in Brussels today, to begin the next phase of our work to build a new, deep and special partnership with the European Union.

But our thoughts this morning are rightly with the victims and families of the awful attack in London early this morning and with those who have lost loved ones in Portugal too in that terrible tragedy there.

It is at testing times like these that we are reminded of the values and the resolve we share with our closest allies in Europe.

For there is more that unites us than divides us.

So while there will undoubtedly be challenging times ahead of us in the negotiations we will do all that we can to ensure we deliver a deal that works in the best interests of all of our citizens.

To that end we are starting this negotiation in a positive and constructive tone, determined to build a strong and special partnership between ourselves, our European allies and friends.