European Union, Britain prep for smooth Brexit

Updated: 09 December, 2017 11:00 IST | Agencies | Brussels

Reach historic deal on Brexit separation issues including the divorce bill, the Irish border and citizens' rights

Britain and the EU reached a historic deal yesterday on the terms of the Brexit divorce after Prime Minister Theresa May rushed to Brussels for early morning talks. The European Commission said "sufficient progress" had been made by Britain on separation issues including the Irish border, Britain's divorce bill, and citizens' rights.

British Prime Minister Theresa May and European Council President Donald Tusk. Pic/AFP
British Prime Minister Theresa May and European Council President Donald Tusk. Pic/AFP

The agreement paves the way for EU leaders at a summit on December 14-15 to open the second phase of Brexit negotiations, covering trade talks and a transition period. Britain voted in June 2016 to become the first state to leave the EU, after more than four decades of membership, but the talks have been slow moving and often acrimonious so far. "The Commission is satisfied that sufficient progress has been achieved in each of the three priority areas," the European Commission said in a statement. Negotiators worked through the night to seal an agreement on the terms of Britain's departure from the bloc.

The EU had set a deadline of Sunday after the last talks on Monday broke down when May's Northern Irish allies objected to terms for future arrangements for the Irish border. Britain agreed to pay a divorce settlement amounting to between 45 and 55 billion euros and to protect the rights of some three million European citizens living there after Brexit as part of the deal.

Divorce settlement Britain has agreed to pay

Europeans living in Britain

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Irish PM: Deal end of the beginning
Irish Prime Minister Leo Varadkar hailed yesterday's Brexit agreement as the "end of the beginning" but said Ireland would remain "vigilant" in upcoming negotiations. "This is not the end but it is the end of the beginning and we will remain fully engaged and vigilant through phase 2," he said.

First Published: 09 December, 2017 09:46 IST

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