The divorce between Europe and the United Kingdom will take place in two years. But discussions on the terms of the separation began on Monday 19 June in Brussels. Michel Barnier, chief negotiator of the European Union, and David Davis, the British minister in charge of Brexit, kicked off the deal.
This initial formal contact between the European and the British negotiating teams will have enabled the finalization of the timetable and method of work. Under the authority of the two heads of delegation – Michel Barnier for the EU and David Davis for the United Kingdom – three expert groups are constituted.
The first will focus on the human aspects, ie the fate of the 3.2 million EU nationals in the UK and the 1.5 million British people in the 27 EU countries European. The second group will endeavor to set the amount of financial compensation that the United Kingdom will have to pay in respect of its commitments under the current multiannual budgetary program up to the end of 2020.
As for the third group, it will be its task to seek equitable solutions to the problems associated with the appointing of an external border of the EU with the third State that will become the United Kingdom after its withdrawal. These problems will be evident between the two countries – the South in the EU, the North outside – and between Spain and Gibraltar.
It was agreed that negotiators would be grouped together one full week per month, with the other three weeks being used to refine positions.
Sensitive to criticism from all sides who had blamed the opacity surrounding European trade negotiations with Canada and the United States, Michel Barnier said he was determined to publish all the working papers and practice the most Transparency. This practice is not very widespread in the European Commission and even less so in the English.