The Brexit process gains force with the approval of the guidelines for the negotiation of future EU-UK relations after Brexit.
The negotiators said they wanted an agreement by the end of the year and gave Michel Barnier a mandate to speak directly with the UK to reach a broad political agreement by October.
Prime Minister Theresa May argues that there is a new "spirit of cooperation and opportunity" after the text on trade, security and other issues has been agreed in "less than half a minute", paving the way for the next phase of the Brexit talks.
There is no legal certainty until the whole agreement is ratified.
Some of the points discussed:
- Spain and the United Kingdom must reach a separate agreement on Gibraltar;
- The future relationship based on a free trade agreement without customs tariffs and close cooperation on security and defence;
- The United Kingdom's exit from the EU will cause economic consequences for both sides;
- The "evolutionary clause" indicates that the EU will reconsider its offer to Britain if the UK government were to compromise on its red lines, for example by remaining in the customs union;
- The EU fears competition from the United Kingdom and calls for a "level playing field" in terms of taxes, environment and labour standards;
- The EU states that it will jealously protect its financial stability.
Article from the 'BBC'