This Friday will mark one year since the historic day when, by a majority of just under 1.3 million, the populace of the UK and Gibraltar voted to leave the European Union.
And today, 82 days after the Prime Minister formally triggered the process under the infamous ‘Article 50’, formal Brexit negotiations finally begin. Over the next 648 days, Brexit Secretary David Davis, Michel Barnier and Guy Verhofstadt (the respective leaders of the negotiating teams for the UK, the European Commission, and the European Parliament) will undoubtedly become household names.
There is already one major area of disagreement – the EU wishes to negotiate the terms of the UK’s exit from the Union first, before moving onto discussions regarding a UK/EU trade deal. The UK has indicated its preference to do both simultaneously, while maintaining the UK’s commitment to put its citizens first and minimise disruption through constructive discussions.
There are still some who fervently hope the Brexit process will not complete, and others who are pushing for the ‘hard’ Brexit that will see the UK withdraw from the single market completely. This month’s YouGov polls suggests that 70% of Britons now believe the UK Government should push forward with Brexit in one form or another, however 36% of people believe the recent General Election results have weakened the UK’s position.
No doubt both negotiating teams will keep their cards close to their chests, and we cannot realistically expect a daily running commentary … although the leaking of issues to the media will, invariably, form part of the process.
As ever, time will tell - but now the clock is ticking…
These notes have been prepared for the purpose of an article only. They should not be regarded as a substitute for taking legal advice.