Britain’s Brexit minister, David Davis, said he was “encouraged” by talks at the first meeting between British and EU Brexit negotiators on Monday.
“We’ve laid solid foundations for future discussions and an ambitious but achievable timetable,” said David Davis.
The EU’s chief negotiator, Michel Barnier, said that a “fair deal” was positive and promised a “constructive attitude” to the talks.
“For both the European Union and the United Kingdom, a fair deal is possible and far better than no deal. That is what I said to David today,” he said, adding that there would be “no hostility on my side”.
David Davis and Michel Barnier after exchanging mountaineering gifts, during the first day of constructive negotiations with the EU pic.twitter.com/UWhZVGWWGV
— Exiting the EU Dept (@DExEUgov) 19 de junio de 2017
Mr Barnier said each side had to “assume our responsibility and the consequences of our decisions”.
“I am not in a frame of mind to make concessions, or ask for concessions,” he said. “It’s not about punishment, it is not about revenge
“Basically, we are implementing the decision taken by the United Kingdom to leave the European Union, and unravel 43 years of patiently-built relations.
“I will do all I can to put emotion to one side and stick to the facts, the figures, and the legal basis, and work with the United Kingdom to find an agreement in that frame of mind.”
A British source told Reuters that the mood on the first day of the talks was incredibly positive, with both the EU and the UK recognising the need to move along with it quickly.
“The mood of that room was incredibly positive,” the source was quoted by Reuters as saying.
“I think it was recognition by all sides that the clock is ticking and we do really need to push on with this now and start to make positive strides toward getting a deal that is in both sides’ interests.”
— UKREP (@ukineu) 19 de junio de 2017
There will be a “two-phased” negotiation, with divorce terms to be set first before talks on future trade relations.
Davis and Barnier will meet for a week every month to negotiate and work on proposals in the time in between.
The next set of talks will begin on July 17.