On Thursday 18 January 2018, Luxembourg's Prime Minister and Minister of State Xavier Bettel welcomed Michel Barnier, chief negotiator in charge of the European Commission's working group responsible for the preparation and conduct of negotiations with the United Kingdom under Article 50 of the Treaty on European Union.
The discussions provided an in-depth look at the progress of talks on the UK's withdrawal from the European Union and future relations with the United Kingdom. At the December European Council, it was agreed that the progress made was sufficient to move to the next stage of the negotiations. Prime Minister Bettel said in this context that "the real work remains to be done, namely the question of determining the scope of our future relationship with the United Kingdom".
During the meeting between Michel Barnier and Xavier Bettel, he said: "[...] to me, the challenge the Union will have to face is to reduce as much as possible the negative impacts of Brexit, in particular concerning services." PM Bettel also took advantage of this meeting to express his wish to see the integrity of the internal market respected.
At the end of the working meeting, the Prime Minister and Michel Barnier had a working lunch with Luxembourg representatives of the economic and financial sector.