EU Gov'ts Adopt Tough Trade Stance On Post-Brexit UK

BELGIUM-EU-BREXIT

The 27 leaders meeting in Brussels adopted negotiating guidelines for talks on the future relationship with Britain and approved a deal for a 21-month transition period.

European Union leaders will lay the ground on March 23 for the next phase of Brexit talks after British Prime Minister urged them to seize a "new dynamic" in the negotiations.

"Leaders will assess in June if the Irish question has been resolved and how to go about a common declaration on our future", he told reporters.

"I believe there is a new dynamic now in the negotiations".

Last-minute wrangling by Spain has led to the inclusion of a reference to the EU's position on Gibraltar.

It is feared that the United Kingdom may lower standards in order to reach a deal with the U.S. in a way that would be unacceptable to the EU.

This agreement was described as a "decisive step" in the Brexit negotiations by Mr. Michel Barnier, the European Union negotiator, and has been hailed in the British press as a critical milestone for businesses. We need a mechanism to openly assess readiness through the 21 months in consultation with sector representative groups, with the option to extend this period where necessary, depending how quickly the nature of our future trading relationship with the European Union is confirmed.

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The transition win for May comes at the expense of having agreed to a 'backstop solution on the Irish border that, if implemented, could infuriate many of her political allies as it could effectively isolate the Northern Ireland economy from mainland Britain by keeping its regulations in line with the EU.

While not directly mentioning financial services, the European Union says it will jealously guard its financial stability.

Her British critics had said she would never manage to bridge deep differences with Brussels and win the deal, which opens the way for talks on Britain's future ties with the EU.

"I welcome the fact that the EU Council this morning has agreed the details of the implementation period - that period after we leave the EU next March 2019 until the end of December 2020", she said.

"If we can have an agreement on the terms backstop or an alternative to the backstop before June, that's something we would very much welcome", Irish prime minister Leo Varadkar said after the summit.

The document also sets out that negotiations on future relations can only progress if all commitments agreed so far are respected in full, including the UK's assurances that it would avoid a hard border between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland, the EU's new external border after Brexit.

May said the issue mattered for British steelworkers. "I want to ensure that steel workers and their jobs are properly safeguarded".

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