Brexit: A Brief Guide to Negotiations

The UK is negotiating its exit from the European Union after the country voted to leave in a referendum in June 2016.

As it stands, the UK will depart the EU on 30 March 2019 but the terms of its withdrawal and the nature of its future relationship with the EU are yet to be decided. So what is being discussed and by whom?

In the first phase of negotiations, British and EU officials are meeting each month for four days in Brussels, the home of the European Commission.

So far, there have been two rounds of talks. The first one, in June, was largely a get-to-know you session in which both sides sized each other up, engaged in a few official pleasantries and discussed scheduling issues.

July's session was much more serious and detailed, with full discussions taking place in four key areas: the rights of EU citizens in the UK and Britons on the continent, the future of the 300 mile land border between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland, general separation issues, and the question of money.

Matters are at an early stage and there has been no agreement in any of these areas yet. The two sides will next meet in the last week of August.

Who is doing the talking?

The UK team is led by David Davis, the veteran Conservative MP who is Secretary of State for Exiting The European Union. His EU counterpart is Michel Barnier, a former French foreign minister and EU commissioner who was chosen by the other 27 EU member states to represent them.

Both sides are deploying a Olympic-size squad of officials to work on the negotiations.

Much of the spadework is being done by co-ordinators or "sherpas", senior officials whose job it is to pore over the nitty-gritty details and try and pave the way for a political agreement.

The lead British sherpa is Oliver Robbins, th