The first week of negotiations between the UK and EU has now come to an end. Although many disagreements still remain, the EU’s Brexit negotiators claim that the talks about future relations with the UK have been “heartfelt and constructive”.
The first official negotiation week has mostly centred around looking at each other’s negotiating mandate and seeing where one stands in different areas.
“In all areas, we have – thankfully – found things we agree on, but if I am honest there are also a lot of differences”, says EU Chief Negotiator Michel Barnier at a press conference in Brussels.
Among the areas where the parties disagree is the fishing sector and how to guarantee “equal conditions” regarding environmental protection and safety requirements.
Barnier is still optimistic.
“Some of the differences are very difficult, but I am still convinced that we can reach a settlement”, the chief negotiator says.
The next round of talks will be held in London in a few weeks. The negotiations will take place in about ten rounds in the spring and summer in order to hopefully arrive at an agreement by October.