• Brexit talks have begun in Brussels. The lead negotiators, David Davis and Michel Barnier, representing the UK and the European commission respectively, posed for the cameras before several hours of initial discussions. Amid concerns that political uncertainty in Britain could delay meaningful negotiations, the two leaders stressed their opening day on Monday would mainly deal with the timing and structure of the divorce talks, which the EU insists cannot yet deal with issues of trade. (Guardian)
  • Brexit Secretary David Davis has said he is entering negotiations in a “positive and constructive” frame of mind. As he began talks in Brussels, he said he was determined to build a “strong and special partnership” with the EU. Mr Davis said there would be “challenges” ahead but he believed the two sides could reach an agreement on the terms of the UK’s exit which “works in the best interests of all citizens”. (BBC)
  • However, the Guardian reports that European leaders fear that Theresa May’s government is too fragile to negotiate viable terms on which to leave the union, meaning the discussions that officially begin on Monday could end in a “brutal Brexit” – under which talks collapse without any deal. As officials began gathering in Brussels on Sunday night, the long-awaited start of negotiations was overshadowed by political chaos back in Westminster, where chancellor Philip Hammond warned that failing to strike a deal would be “a very, very bad outcome”. The EU side fears that, in reality, the British government will struggle to maintain any position without falling apart in the coming months, because, without support from the Democratic Unionist party, May’s negotiating hand is limited. There are also concerns that any DUP backing to give May a majority in the House of Commons would come with strings attached. (Guardian)
  • The European Central Bank is taking actions to ensure that the bloc’s banks are prepared for a fallout from a hard Brexit, according to one of its senior officials, who has also warned of the possibility of UK bank exploiting “loopholes” in EU rules. In an address to the European Parliament on Monday, Danièle Nouy – who heads up the central bank’s supervisory board – said the ECB has asked eurozone banks with subsidiaries in the UK to have “adequate contingency plans in place” and prepare “for the possibility of a hard Brexit”. (FT)