The moment is finally upon us.
Almost a year to the day since Britain voted to leave the European Union, the two sides finally sit down and begin their complex negotiations. The divorce procedure has begun.
What does each side want?
We know in considerable detail what the EU side is demanding out of the process.
Complete with their long-established negotiating team, Taskforce 50, headed by Frenchman Michel Barnier, the EU side says its agenda and objectives are transparent and designed to remove uncertainty for citizens and limit the economic impact of Brexit.
Mr Barnier, a former French government minister and two-time European commissioner, is an experienced negotiator and formidable operator.
The EU’s promotional video, distributed across EU countries, outlines their aims, objectives and red lines.
The European Commission has published “position papers” on key issues to be resolved in the first phase of negotiations:
:: Citizens’ Rights
What is the status of the 1.2 million Brits living in the EU and the 3.2 million EU citizens living in the UK? Can they stay? What benefits can they have? Who’ll pay? Which court protects them? Can they get permanent residence rights?
Here’s the EU’s “position paper” on citizens’ rights.
In short it says EU citizens must be able to continue to live in Britain even if they arrived just before Brexit day, and that they must be allowed to apply for UK citizenship and all the benefits that come with it.
Precisely the same arrangements should apply for Britons living in the EU.
And one key demand: the European Court of Justice, the EU says, must have full jurisdiction over EU nationals in the UK for however long they live there. For the UK negotiators that will be perhaps impossible to accept.