Brexit: EU leaders set to move talks on to next stage | 2017-12-15 |

Brexit: EU leaders set to move talks on to next stage

Sun Online Desk     15th December, 2017 12:08:47 printer

Brexit: EU leaders set to move talks on to next stage


EU leaders are expected to formally agree to start the next phase of Brexit negotiations later.


It means talks can move on to the long-term relationship between the UK and EU, days after Theresa May suffered her first defeat in the House of Commons.


Mrs May was applauded by other leaders at dinner in Brussels on Thursday night after she made a speech about Brexit.


The next round of talks on a transition deal for the end of Brexit are expected to begin as early as next week.


The European Commission has said "sufficient progress" has been made on the first phase to move onto discussing the framework of a future relationship - including issues such as security and trade.


Under EU rules, the prime minister will not attend the meeting where the decision is formally confirmed.


But the round of applause during Thursday's dinner suggests the process is more or less on track - and indicates a degree of support in Europe for Mrs May, says the BBC's Europe correspondent Kevin Connolly.


During the dinner with the 27 other EU leaders, Mrs May urged them to approve an agreement to move Brexit talks on to a second phase.


The document states that a formal free trade agreement cannot be signed until after the UK has left the EU.


The talks will first prioritise translating recent headway on the issues of citizens' rights, the Irish border and the £39bn "divorce bill" into a legally-binding withdrawal agreement - as well as to work out the terms for a transition period to follow the official date of Brexit in March 2019.


Mrs May has insisted the Brexit process was still "on course" despite her defeat in a Parliamentary vote on Wednesday night, reports BBC.