In the latest of our award-winning #BrusselsCalling media debates, the focus was on the UK’s tortuous decoupling negotiations with the EU. Cambre Associates chairman and BritCham president Tom Parker quizzed a panel of leading Brussels correspondents on how they make sense of all the Brexit twists and turns for their readers. We heard from Sarah Collins (Evening Standard), Gabriel Grésillion (Les Echos), Matthew Holehouse (MLex), Alex Pigman (Agence France-Presse), and Jennifer Rankin (Guardian) on how they navigate the numerous challenges. Here are our 10 takeaways:

  1. Brexit has, if anything, strengthened EU unity,
  2. Negotiators on both sides have known one another for years and actually like one another.
  3. There’s a chasm between what the politicians are saying and what the officials are actually doing.
  4. Scoops are rare because of the level of trust between the EU and UK negotiators.
  5. Reader appetite for news is far from sated, even though nothing new has happened since December.
  6. Summit decisions are pre-cooked, so the event itself is usually an anti-climax.
  7. Brussels correspondents feel that the real negotiations are taking place in London.
  8. When nobody’s talking on either side of the Channel, something is definitely cooking.
  9. The French financial sector sees Brexit as an opportunity to lure banks to Paris from London, but at the same time there is fear of what the UK’s departure from the EU means for business.
  10. Both sides are heading towards an eventual deal because the alternative is too frightening to contemplate.