Britain and the European Union began formal Brexit negotiations on Monday, vowing to work constructively for a deal despite disarray in London over whether to go for a “hard” or “soft” divorce.
Almost exactly a year after Britain’s seismic referendum to leave the bloc, the EU’s chief negotiator, Michel Barnier of France, welcomed his counterpart David Davis with a cheery handshake at the European Commission in Brussels.
Mr Barnier said that Britain and the EU have agreed on the priorities and timetable for Brexit negotiations after the first session of talks. “This first session was useful, we start off on the right foot as the clock is ticking,” he said during a joint press conference with Mr Davis.
Meanwhile, according to reports the Brexit negotiations may be a very dry affair. Eurocrats have been advised to stay sober during the talks because of the heatwave, the Telegraph reported.
It also appears Mr Davis and Mr Michel Barnier may have to negotiate in the dark as staff have been told to switch off all the lights. The talks may also have to end early, as EU staff have been told they can leave work at 4 pm if the weather is too warm, the report said.
A memo sent to the EU’s Committee of the Regions state: “No suits and ties where possible,” “You are advised not to drink alcohol” and “Switch off the lights.”