Brexit Q&A: Has the European Union switched tactics ahead of phase two?

Brexit Q&A: Has the European Union switched tactics ahead of phase two?

And agreements on the Irish border, the so-called divorce bill and the rights of European Union and United Kingdom citizens, agreed by Mrs May last Friday, must be "respected in full and translated faithfully into legal terms as quickly as possible".

British Prime Minister Theresa May praised her fellow European leaders Friday for agreeing to move on to the next phase in the negotiations over the U.K.'s withdrawal from the EU.

To kick off those transition talks, the European Union commission is expected to propose a negotiating mandate next Wednesday to be adopted by member states in January.

The first issue to be discussed, as early as next week, will be the terms of a transition period after the United Kingdom leaves in March 2019.

Ireland's Prime Minister Leo Varadkar cautioned that there were "quite divergent opinions" on how a new relationship and transition would look.

"We will give the mandate for preparation for the Commission and ourselves for the negotiations for the future of our relations", Lithuanian President Dalia Grybauskaite said, seeing those talks formally starting in March. That means no United Kingdom commissioner, no MEPs, and no United Kingdom minister at council meetings.

"Today is an important step on the road to delivering a smooth and orderly Brexit and forging our deep and special future partnership", she tweeted.

But the promises of zero punishment being handed out by the European Union may not resonate with Britons after Mr Barnier insisted there is "no way" the United Kingdom will be allowed a bespoke deal with the bloc.

How Have Chipotle Mexican Grill, Inc. (CMG) EPS Forecasts Changed?
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May on Thursday night had updated the leaders on the divorce deal.

Labour's global trade spokesman, Barry Gardiner, welcomed the move forward, but said it would be a "real problem" for business if the European Union didn't start talking trade for a further three months.

This is nearly certainly why the prime minister has so far been so reluctant to spell out the reality of the Brexit transition period, or even to use the phrase itself.

But EU leaders offered their support to May.

The unity achieved at the end of the first phase of Brexit talks, and how it could be maintained, was very much on the mind of leaders on the summit. "It appears very hard", he said.

European Union countries have started already and will continue to hold internal discussions on their priorities for the future relations.

Importantly, continued de facto customs union membership would prevent Britain from immediately striking new free trade deals around the world as her International Trade Secretary Liam Fox has previously suggested we will. The 27 know it is in their interest to remain closely united as they have clearly been in the first phase.

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