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What a difference a year makes.

It’s been almost 12 months to the day since the EU referendum. Nearly 365 days of what could be considered a phoney war and often empty rhetoric – 8,760 hours in which the EU institutions have hammered out their position for lead negotiator Michel Barnier, while the UK triggered Article 50, mused over its negotiating position and red lines, only to have an election throw everything up in the air again.

Twelve months on from that watershed day, David Davis and his negotiating team rolled into Brussels to (finally) begin formal negotiations. But it was very much a case of out of the frying pan and into the fire for the Brexit Secretary, who left the blistering temperatures of London and could have been forgiven for wistfully considering what might have been had the Tory election campaign not spectacularly imploded, putting the kibosh on a majority that would have enabled a far more robust position from the British delegation.

With the handshakes and formal gift-giving out the way (for the record, a hiking stick for Mr Davis who presented Mr Barnier with a signed book on mountaineering), and after a full day’s talks, it was difficult to conclude anything other than that a significant concession had been made by the UK. Despite months of insistence that talks on extricating the UK from the EU and discussions over a trade deal must take place in parallel, Mr Davis had surrendered that position within hours.

So, what to make of it all?

Europe’s media was pretty unanimous in its view: the UK had thrown in the towel. It was a demonstration of both a weak negotiating position and a weak government. Small wonder then that the British press had speculated that European leaders were pondering the need to make concessions to shore up Theresa May’s tenancy in Downing Street – avoiding further turmoil and a possible election that would put the brakes on further talks.

Of course, this could all be a British negotiating tactic. Make a concession after talking tough to make the other side more amenable on other matters. And the Prime Minister, who also made the trip to Brussels for a European Council meeting, seemed in the mood to appear conciliatory. After months of rhetoric, Mrs May confirmed three million EU nationals living in the UK would have the right to remain if the same rights were available to UK nationals living in Europe.

This of course comes with a caveat – and it’s a big one. British courts would have to hold power to rule over the rights of EU citizens living in the UK. Which might be a step too far for Mrs May’s European counterparts.

Unsurprisingly, the British press was over the announcement like a rash, and it perhaps bolstered Mrs May’s appearance at a summit where she was destined not to be the star. That honour looked to be reserved for Emmanuel Macron, fresh from a French parliamentary election victory. How the British PM must envy her French counterpart (although perhaps not for the shambles of successive ministerial resignations that then ensued). But while the UK might have made some concessions – either deliberate or enforced – this week, big issues remain on the table for the talks to come. Issues like freedom of movement and the authority of the European courts.

And this is all before any thought is given to the raft of Brexit legislation that’ll have to go through the House of Commons in the next two years, over which the Government will have to fight tooth and nail not just in Parliament but also in the devolved institutions.

Still, on the bright side, at least we’re no longer talking about the order in which we talk about things anymore.