Michel Barnier: “Today we are launching the negotiations and orderly withdrawal of the UK from the EU. Our objective is clear: We must first tackle the uncertainties caused by Brexit.
“First for citizens, but also for the beneficiaries of EU policies, and for the border of Northern Ireland. I hope that today, we can identify priorities and a timetable that would allow me to report to the European Council later this week that we had a constructive opening of negotiations.”
David Davis: “I’m here in Brussels today, like Michel, to begin the next phase of our work to build a new, deep and special partnership with the European Union.
“There’s more that unites us than that divides us. So while there’ll undoubtedly be challenging times ahead of us in the negotiations, we will do all we can to deliver a deal that works in the best interests of all citizens.
“To that end, we’re starting this negotiation in a positive and constructive tone, determined to build a strong and special partnership between ourselves and European allies and friends for the future.”