The Joint Committee, set up under the UK-EU Withdrawal Agreement to monitor and supervise implementation of that Agreement, met for the first time (albeit virtually, because of the Covid-19 pandemic) on 30 March 2020.

The virtual meeting was cordial and friendly enough by all accounts - the UK Government press story said that the conversation at the  meeting was "collaborative and constructive" and the EU Commission press statement described the discussion as having taken place "in a  constructive and productive atmosphere".

Both statements confirmed the need for the six Specialised Committees reporting to the Joint Committee to begin their work now - these are Committees on citizens' rights; other separation provisions; the Protocol on Ireland/Northern Ireland; the Protocol relating to the Sovereign Base Areas in Cyprus; the Protocol on Gibraltar; and financial provisions. Both sides expressly or by clear implication emphasised the need for work on the detailed planning for the implementation of the Protocol on Ireland/Northern Ireland to be undertaken as a matter of priority.

The EU statement went into a little more detail than the UK statement on the Ireland/Northern Ireland Protocol underlining      "the urgent need to present a detailed timetable and proceed with the necessary measures, such as preparing for the introduction of customs procedures for goods entering Northern Ireland from Great Britain, and ensuring that all necessary sanitary and phytosanitary controls as well as other regulatory checks can be carried out in respect of goods entering Northern Ireland from outside the EU". The UK referred more generally to protecting the Good Friday Agreement in all respects.

The UK Government  press story referred specifically to the UK's "commitment to EU citizens in the UK and [to] ensuring that UK nationals in the EU have their rights protected  consistent with the Withdrawal Agreement".

The next meeting of the Joint Committee is due to take place in June 2020.

The big unknown is the extent to which the diversion of official resources on both sides towards dealing with the Covid-19 crisis will impact on the ability of the two sides to make progress on Brexit-related issues.

So far, the UK Government is maintaining a "business as usual " approach towards Brexit  implementation issues  and the EU side is trying to be helpful in moving the implementation phase forward.

Good luck to both sides!