Posts Tagged ‘Britain’

Brexit: Theresa May Again Meets EU Leaders — talks that could be hampered by divisions at home

December 14, 2017

Theresa May will urge European Union leaders to approve an agreement to move Brexit talks on to a second phase after an embarrassing parliamentary defeat.

The Prime Minister will repeat her case for moving the talks on to trade negotiations, which she sees as crucial to offering certainty for businesses.

The 27 other EU leaders are all but certain to approve the deal to move to “phase two” on Friday, after Ms May has left Brussels, launching a new stage of talks that could be hampered by divisions at home and differences with the EU.

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Brexit should be cancelled, Austrian prime minister says

Austria’s prime minister has said he hopes that Brexit can be reversed, hours after British MPs voted to give themselves a veto on Theresa May’s final deal. Arriving at European Council summit in Brussels Christian Kern said Brexit would likely throw up problems that are “not easy to solve”.

Arriving at the summit in Brussels, German Chancellor Angela Merkel said there were “still a few questions remaining open” about the terms of the UK’s withdrawal from the EU, but there was “a good chance that the second phase can now begin”.

French President Emmanuel Macron said it was “not simply a council about Brexit”, stressing that his focus was on issues of EU defence and migration policybeing discussed on Thursday evening.

UK must accept EU laws to prevent ‘dramatic and damaging’ impact on economy after Brexit, MPs warn

A transition period after Brexit where the UK continues to accept EU rules would be a “price worth paying” for economic stability, an influential Commons committee has said. Cross-party MPs on the Treasury Committee said the Government should consent to a “standstill” transition deal with Brussels, which would likely include remaining in the single market and customs union, and accepting judgements from the European Court of Justice (ECJ) after Britain leaves the bloc in March 2019.

Tory former minister who rebelled against May warns she faces second defeat

Conservative ex-cabinet minister Dominic Grieve has said he does not care about “knives being out for me” over his role in forcing changes to Theresa May’s Brexit plans, as he warned the Prime Minister she faces a second defeat.

All you need to know about the Brexit bill’s Amendment 7 and why it has just humiliated Theresa May

Theresa May’s government was handed a defeat on the Brexit bill as 11 MPs rebelled and backed an amendment to give Parliament a much greater say in leaving the European Union (EU).  Amendment seven, tabled by the former attorney general Dominic Grieve, requires any Brexit deal to be approved by a separate Act of Parliament before it can be implemented.

High Court just ruled Government policy of deporting homeless EU citizens is illegal

The IndependentThe High Court has ordered the Government to stop deporting homeless EU citizens under a controversial policy that has been ruled unlawful. Mrs Justice Lang said measures introduced last year were discriminatory and violated European law, following a challenge by two Polish men and a Latvian. The three men were all facing removal because they were found by police and immigration officers sleeping rough.

Ireland’s Foreign Affairs Minister, Simon Coveney, said a transition period needs to be closer to five years than two.
Speaking in the Dail on Thursday, he insisted that businesses need time to adapt to any new realities in the context of Brexit.
He also said that, in his view, the commitments that the UK Government has made to Ireland and the rest of the EU are “cast-iron”.

Watch the moment Theresa May was defeated by her own MPs in humiliating Brexit vote

The Independent — This is the moment that the government lost its key vote on its Brexit bill after a rebellion by 11 Conservative MPs. In front of a packed House of Commons in the end the Government was defeated by 309 votes to 305, a margin of just four votes. Cheers erupted as the result was announced.

This is from the FT’s Brussels Correspondent. Luxembourg’s PM says the EU will not renegotiate a deal with Britain if Parliament rejects the one on offer. 

Luxembourg’ PM Bettel asked if EU will renegotiate exit deal if rejected by parliament: “No”.

Tory former minister who rebelled against May warns she faces second defeat

Conservative ex-cabinet minister Dominic Grieve has said he does not care about “knives being out for me” over his role in forcing changes to Theresa May’s Brexit plans, as he warned the Prime Minister she faces a second defeat.

Asked whether the Prime Minister agreed with the Archbishop of Canterbury (see 9.22am) a Downing Street spokesman said:

“The Government understands there are strong feelings on both sides, we continue to listen to views and move forward to secure the Brexit deal the country needs.”

The Tories have sacked their own vice-chairman after he helped defeat the Government over Brexit

Tory MP Stephen Hammond has been sacked as a vice-chairman of the Conservative Party after he rebelled against the Government on a key Brexit vote. The former transport minister voted in favour of Dominic Grieve’s amendment seven, to back his attempt to ensure MPs have a “meaningful vote” on the withdrawal deal. Before the news broke, Mr Hammond said the rebels had been prepared to work with the Government to ensure a meaningful vote.

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UK spy chiefs peel back secrecy – to fight cybercrime

December 14, 2017

AFP

© AFP/File / by James PHEBY | Britain’s cyber-spooks are reaching beyond the shroud of secrecy in a bid to harness the “exciting attitude of start-up land” to defend the country against hackers

LONDON (AFP) – Britain’s cyber-spooks are reaching out from behind their veil of secrecy with the aim of cultivating the nation’s next generation of high-tech sentries — a move not without security risks.

With recruiting initiatives levelled at tech-savvy hipsters, start-ups pitching ideas and even Christmas puzzles, the top-secret Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ) is letting the public in, ever so slightly.

The latest move was this month’s “Cyber Accelerator” event at the National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) — part of GCHQ — when investors, journalists and entrepreneurs were offered a rare glimpse behind the scenes.

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GCHQ

The Accelerator project connects tech entrepreneurs with GCHQ experts and information, aiming to help the budding companies turn their ideas into ready-for-market cyber-defence products.

The move is the latest in a series of initiatives by the security services to open their doors to young tech wizards — a subtle effort to recruit the best and brightest as Britain’s future cyber-sentries.

GCHQ has previously used stencil graffiti recruitment adverts in the fashionable east London tech hub, and also launched an online puzzle comprising 29 blocks of letters to be decoded by aspiring cyber spies.

During the visit to Accelerator, visitors were whisked up to the National Cyber Security Centre’s offices in central London in space-age lifts.

Once arrived, they got to see the latest weapons the entrepreneurs were pitching to private investors as part of the programme.

“Razor wire is there to keep people out, but it does quite a good job of keeping people in. It does create an internal community and we wanted to break out of that,” said Chris Ensor, NCSC’s deputy director for cyber-skills and growth.

“Accelerator is the natural next step, going out into the wider world.”

Nine businesses, who are working with GCHQ for nine months, pitched ideas including defences for crypto-currencies and domestic web-connected products as well as hardware that can wipe the contents of a laptop in case of theft.

Matt Hancock, a junior minister for digital and culture affairs, encouraged investors to dig deep, saying that GCHQ’s efforts to engage with the outside world were bearing fruit.

“The small acorn is now beginning to grow into an oak,” he said.

– Security risk –

Stressing the urgency of the challenge, NCSC technical director Ian Levy revealed that the agency has dealt with 600 major cyber incidents in its first year, 35 of which were classed as serious.

“They have taught us some things,” he said. “Our adversaries are infinitely inventive, they’re brilliant.”

Alan Woodward, a cybersecurity expert at the University of Surrey, praised Britain for harnessing individual inspiration with the power of government.

“Some of the best ideas have come from one man and his shed, it’s the modern version of that.

“They don’t always find a natural home in big business or government, this is about trying to give them a leg up,” he said.

The event’s Silicon Valley spirit and prospects of hard cash are both intended to lure sharp young minds towards working for the nation’s defence, he added.

“You can pay someone £30,000 ($40,000, 34,000 euros) a year to go and work at GCHQ and they can basically double that by going to industry. It’s hard to get them in and retain them.”

– ‘Keen to attract young talent’ –

“We also know GCHQ is very, very keen to attract young talent,” said Anthony Glees, director of the Buckingham University Centre for Security and Intelligence Studies.

“Some of the most succesful hackers have been 16 and 17-year old lads working out of their bedrooms.”

However, the necessity of information sharing with private citizens creates potential security “pitfalls”, he said, with the leaks by private contractor Edward Snowden while working for the NSA — GCHQ’s US equivalent — serving as a warning.

GCHQ conduct thorough background checks, but this is “an extremely expensive process”, said Glees.

The government must therefore walk a fine line in judging what information to share.

“Exchanging information is always hazardous… but it is necessary,” said Glees.

But some things will remain stamped “Top secret”, including the location where the entrepreneurs do their work with Britain’s cyber-spies.

“It’s a physical place, but you can’t tell anyone where it is,” said the NCSC’s Ensor.

by James PHEBY

Brexit defeat for Theresa May as MPs back curbing government powers — What Theresa May’s Brexit defeat means

December 13, 2017

LONDON (Reuters) – MPs defeated Prime Minister Theresa May’s government on Wednesday, voting to change her Brexit blueprint in a move which could complicate her efforts to sever ties with the European Union.

The parliament voted 309 to 305 in favour of an amendment to demand parliament pass a separate bill to approve any final deal with the EU.

Reporting by Elizabeth Piper; Editing by Andrew Heavens

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The Guardian

What Theresa May’s Brexit defeat means

Norway first country to switch off FM radio

December 13, 2017

AFP

© NTB Scanpix/AFP | Authorities say the transition to digital allows for better sound quality and more channels

OSLO (AFP) – 

Norway on Wednesday completed its transition to digital radio, becoming the first country in the world to shut down national broadcasts of its FM radio network despite some grumblings.

As scheduled, the country’s most northern regions and the Svalbard archipelago in the Arctic switched to Digital Audio Broadcasting (DAB) in the late morning, said Digitalradio Norge (DRN) which groups Norway’s public and commercial radio.

The transition, which began on January 11, allows for better sound quality, a greater number of channels and more functions, all at a cost eight times lower than FM radio, according to authorities.

The move has however been met with some criticism linked to technical incidents and claims that there is not sufficient DAB coverage across the country.

In addition, radio users have complained about the cost of having to buy new receivers or adapters, usually priced around 100 to 200 euros ($117 to $235).

Currently, fewer than half of motorists (49 percent) are able to listen to DAB in their cars, according to DRN figures.

According to a study cited by local media, the share of Norwegians who listen to the radio on a daily basis has dropped by 10 percent in one year, and public broadcaster NRK has lost 21 percent of its audience.

“It’s a big change and we have to give listeners time to adapt to digital radio,” the head of DRN, Ole Jorgen Torvmark, said in a statement.

“After each shutdown (in a region), we noticed that the audience first dropped but then rose again,” he added.

The transition concerns only national radio channels. Most local stations continue to broadcast in FM.

Other countries like Switzerland, Britain and Denmark are due to follow suit in the coming years.

British PM facing rebellion over key Brexit bill — It’s not over until it’s over…

December 13, 2017

AFP

© AFP/File | Britain’s Prime Minister Theresa May managed to strike a deal in Brussels last week to move onto the next stage of Brexit negotiations, but is already facing more problems
LONDON (AFP) – 

British Prime Minister Theresa May was Wednesday facing a rebellion from her own MPs over whether parliament will have a “meaningful vote” on the final Brexit deal in what would be a damaging defeat.

A vote is expected later on Wednesday on an amendment to a landmark bill ending Britain’s membership of the European Union and incorporating thousands of pieces of EU legislation into the British statute books.

Dominic Grieve, an MP in May’s Conservative Party, proposed the amendment requiring any Brexit deal to be made law by a binding parliamentary vote.

Ten Tory MPs have signed Grieve’s amendment.

If the government loses, that would deal a heavy blow to May less than a week after she struck a deal in Brussels to move onto the next stage of negotiations.

“The government needs to listen to what’s being said to them,” Grieve told Sky News on Wednesday.

“Unfortunately, my impression of the last few days, when I’ve been talking to the government, is that it seems to be a bit of a dialogue of the deaf. They’ve turned this into a battle of wills.”

Keir Starmer, chief Brexit spokesman for the main opposition Labour party, has tweeted that his MPs will back the amendment if pushed to a vote.

– Government ‘committed’ to vote –

Tory MP Iain Duncan Smith, a hardline Brexiteer, earlier accused Grieve of “looking for ways to derail the bill”, saying the amendment would “tie the government’s hands” in negotiations with the EU.

The row revolves around Clause 9 of the bill, which hands the government “Henry VIII powers” to implement the Brexit deal without parliamentary approval.

Brexit secretary David Davis has promised to give MPs a final vote, and issued a statement Wednesday in a bid to head off the rebellion.

“The government has committed to hold a vote on the final deal in parliament as soon as possible after the negotiations have concluded,” he said.

“This vote will take the form of a resolution in both Houses of Parliament and will cover both the Withdrawal Agreement and the.”

The statement did not specify whether the resolution would be legally binding.

“The government will not implement any parts of the Withdrawal Agreement – for example by using Clause 9 of the European Union (Withdrawal) bill – until after this vote has taken place,” he promised.

The statement did little to appease the potential rebels as it did not spell out what would happen if MPs voted against the terms of the divorce deal.

Only if MPs approve the resolution will the government bring forward a bill to give the Withdrawal Agreement domestic legal effect.

“On first reading, the major problems with this: no guarantee of a vote before we leave the EU; and, no guarantee we get full details of terms and approve them before the PM finalises the Withdrawal Agreement,” Labour MP Chuka Umunna, a prominent pro-EU campaigner, wrote on Twitter.

EU parliament backs outline Brexit deal — Withdrawal accord will be legally binding

December 13, 2017

STRASBOURG (Reuters) – The European Parliament urged EU leaders on Wednesday to allow the next phase of EU negotiations to start, backing a motion that recognized the talks had made sufficient progress as a well a line criticizing Britain’s Brexit negotiator David Davis.

Earlier on Wednesday, the EU’s chief negotiator told lawmakers that Britain could not renege on commitments made to ensure Brexit talks with the European Union move on to discussions on the future relationship between the two.

European Union leaders are almost certain to judge on Friday that “sufficient progress” has been made on the rights of citizens, the Brexit divorce bill and the Irish border to allow negotiations to move to the next phase. The EU executive recommended last week that the leaders approve trade talks.

European Parliament — FILE photo

The European Parliament will have to approve any Brexit deal, although its motion on Wednesday was not binding.

The agreement, presented in a joint report last Friday, was in the view of some in Brussels, undermined by Brexit minister David Davis’s comment that it was more “a statement of intent” than a legally binding. Davis has subsequently said he wants the accord swiftly translated into a legal text.

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David Davis

“We will not accept any going back on this joint report. This progress has been agreed and will be rapidly translated into a withdrawal accord that is legally binding in all three areas and on some others that remain to be negotiated,” EU Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier told EU lawmakers.

Barnier said a lot more further steps were required to secure an orderly withdrawal.

“We are not at the end of the road, neither regarding citizens’ rights nor for the other subjects of the orderly withdrawal. We remain vigilant,” he said.

Barnier said the next phase of talks would focus on a “short and defined” transition period and initial discussions on a future relationship, which he stressed would not erode the EU single market and its four freedoms, including free movement of people.

Reporting by Philip Blenkinsop; Editing by Matthew Mpoke Bigg

UK’s May faces parliamentary showdown with Brexit rebels

December 13, 2017

By Willaim James
Reuters

LONDON (Reuters) – Prime Minister Theresa May’s control of the Brexit process will undergo its stiffest parliamentary test yet on Wednesday, when she faces a showdown with rebels in her party over the laws that will take Britain out of the European Union.

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Britain’s Prime Minister Theresa May. FILE photo

May’s government is trying to pass a bill through parliament that will repeal the 1972 legislation binding Britain to the EU and copy existing EU law into domestic law to ensure legal continuity after ‘Exit Day’ on March 29, 2019.

After six days of debate in parliament ranging from the legal minutiae of Brexit to the gaping differences between ‘Remainers’ and ‘Leavers’, May could face a defeat as lawmakers demand more say over the final exit deal.

Wednesday’s likely flashpoint is an amendment put forward by a member of May’s own party, the government’s former attorney general, Dominic Grieve, who wants parliament to have a meaningful vote on any deal before it is finalised.

If passed by a simple majority vote, the amendment would require parliament to approve the government’s final Brexit deal by passing a separate written law once the terms of the withdrawal agreement are known.

That could allow lawmakers to send May back to the negotiating table if they do not like the deal.

The opposition Labour Party has said it will support the amendment, with some believing it would give lawmakers a greater chance to reopen talks – something that might not be supported by EU negotiators.

Grieve said on Wednesday that he did not want to “sabotage” Brexit, but to make sure parliament was allowed to play its role of holding government to account.

“My impression of the last few days, when I’ve been talking to the government, is it seems to be a bit of a dialogue of the deaf. They’ve sort of turned this into a battle of wills,” he told Sky News. “This is a completely pointless exercise. They need to listen to the point that’s being made and they need to respond to it.”

May is in a precarious position. In June, she gambled on a snap election to strengthen her party’s majority in the 650-seat parliament but instead bungled her campaign and ended up with a minority government propped up by the 10 votes of a small, pro-Brexit Northern Irish party.

Since then she has struggled to assert her authority over a Conservative Party which is deeply divided over the best route out of the EU.

The government has said it is listening to parliament’s concerns and has conceded that a separate piece of legislation, allowing members of parliament (MPs) more say on the deal, would be necessary. The government is planning to pass another bill once the final Brexit deal with Brussels is agreed which will implement the terms of the withdrawal agreement.

The government has been forced to give ground on several issues to ward off other rebellions over the Brexit laws.

On Monday, it accepted a proposal to allow lawmakers greater scrutiny over the passage of EU law into British law.

Still, after striking a deal with Brussels last week to move exit negotiations on to the next phase, covering trade and transition arrangements, May won approval from both the Remain and Leave factions of her party, suggesting attempts to unseat her were on hold.

The government has not ruled out making last-minute concessions to appease Grieve and the 20 or so Conservative rebels who could join forces with the opposition to inflict defeat.

“I think what the MPs are looking for is clarity … We’re looking at the amendment and will respond in due course,” May’s spokesman said on Tuesday.

additional reporting by Kate Holton; Editing by Richard Balmforth

Defects found at China nuclear reactor project

December 13, 2017

AFP

© AFP/File | Two reactors are under construction in China’s Taishan in southern Guangdong province

BEIJING (AFP) – Defects were found in equipment for a third-generation nuclear reactor under construction in southern China with the problematic parts being replaced, the state-owned China General Nuclear Power Group (CGN) said Wednesday.The issue concerned equipment used in one of two new European Pressurised Reactors (EPR), large units designed to offer improved power and safety.

With EPRs in Finland and France facing setbacks, the Chinese Taishan 1 and 2 are on track to become the first working reactors of their kind in the world.

But “local defects” were recently found in Taishan 1’s deaerator, a device used to remove oxygen from water circuits, CGN — which manages the project alongside French state utility EDF — told AFP in an email.

Problems were “discovered in the non-bearing welding line of the internal support of (Taishan 1’s) deaerator”, CGN said.

The deaerator is located “outside the nuclear zone”, it added, noting that “replacement measures” are being taken.

The two reactors under construction in Taishan, southern Guangdong province, are 51 percent owned by CGN, 30 percent owned by EDF and 19 percent owned by the province’s electrical utility firm.

Taishan 1 is slated to go onstream before the end of the year.

Britain in September also gave the green light, with conditions, to EDF and CGN to build another such reactor at England’s Hinkley Point, after a heated debate which included worries over China’s involvement.

Britain must obey EU environment rules for post-Brexit air deal: campaigners

December 13, 2017

AFP

© AFP/File / by Danny KEMP | As part of the European aviation area, Britain’s industry has soared, with low-cost EasyJet battling with the UK’s historic carrier British Airways.

BRUSSELS (AFP) – The EU must make Britain’s air industry sign up to the bloc’s environment rules if it wants to keep access to European skies after Brexit, a campaign group warned in a report Wednesday.Airlines should stay in the EU’s emissions trading scheme and follow rules against subsidies to prevent Britain becoming a “carbon haven”, Brussels-based group Transport and Environment said in the report seen by AFP.

The group — which has had meetings with EU Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier’s task force — warned that without a deal British planes could be unable to land in the bloc the day after the UK leaves.

“As London works out its future relationship with the EU, it should be able to keep its current level of access to Europe?s aviation market by agreeing to maintain EU rules designed to curb flying?s environmental impact,” said Kristina Wittkopp, legal analyst at Transport and Environment (T&E) who wrote the report.

The publication of the report comes on the eve of a European Union summit at which leaders are expected to approve the opening of talks on a future relationship with Britain, including on a trade deal.

T&E said Britain should stay in the European Common Aviation Area — which allows planes from EU states and some neighbouring countries to operate anywhere within the bloc — even though it would mean overriding London’s Brexit “red line” of being free from EU law.

British Brexit Minister David Davis said on Sunday that he wanted a Canada-style arrangement between Britain and the EU, with “individual specific arrangements” for sectors including aviation.

As part of the aviation area, Britain’s industry has soared, with low-cost EasyJet battling with the UK’s historic carrier British Airways.

Outside the area, Britain’s airline industry could be forced to set up new bases within EU territory. Without a Brexit deal it would not be allowed to fly there at all.

– ‘Carbon haven’ –

But the group said that if Britain does want to stay in the aviation area, the EU should make it a condition that it also remains in the EU’s emissions trading scheme (ETS), which is aimed at reducing the impact of global warming.

Under the scheme, carbon producers buy allowances to offset what they emit — currently at seven euros ($8.2) per tonne of carbon dioxide — funds from which are put back into measures to tackle climate change.

“Any deal must ensure the UK does not quit the aviation ETS so that these airlines? flights between the UK and Europe will still be required to purchase allowances,” the report said.

Britain should also remain subject to EU state aid rules, which prevent governments giving subsidies to companies, as giving handouts to British airports and airlines would “distort competition and harm the environment by spurring a growth in traffic.”

“To prevent Britain becoming a ?carbon haven? for the aviation sector post-Brexit, it is essential that EU state-aid rules continue to apply to the UK,” the report said.

It added that Britain should also become a paying, non-voting member of the European Aviation Safety Agency, which sets standards for safety and maintenance across the bloc, Transport and Environment added.

by Danny KEMP

EU readies ‘David Davis-proof’ Brexit summit

December 12, 2017

Reuters

BRUSSELS (Reuters) – The European Union plays down talk by Britain’s Brexit minister that last week’s interim accord is not binding and will launch new talks on Friday that are “David Davis-proof”, a senior EU official said.

Image may contain: 1 person, suit

David Davis

The comment on Tuesday followed Brexit Secretary Davis’s weekend remark that outline divorce terms were more a “statement of intent” than legally binding.

The EU official told reporters that EU leaders meeting on Friday will ram home in guidelines to their negotiator that Britain must honor its agreements so far if it wants to discuss the future free trade treaty it wants.

Davis himself pledged to convert last Friday’s deal into “legal text” as soon as possible after he spoke to the European Parliament’s Brexit point man. Guy Verhofstadt branded Davis’s earlier comment “unhelpful” and said that what the EU executive calls a gentleman’s agreement must be made legal.

British and EU officials said that would mean agreeing the formal withdrawal treaty within the coming year so that it can be ratified by their parliaments before Brexit in March 2019.

Davis’s EU counterpart, Michel Barnier, said he aimed in the new year to present a draft of a withdrawal treaty that would reflect the accords struck with Prime Minister Theresa May last week on settling financial obligations, the rights of expatriate citizens and ensuring no “hard” EU border with Northern Ireland.

Adding to the debate over how far London is bound by May’s deal, Barnier insisted there should be “no backtracking” if London is to have the trade negotiations it so much wants.

That is spelled out in legal language in the negotiating guidelines which leaders are expected to approve on Friday after May has left the summit: “Negotiations in the second phase can only progress as long as all commitments undertaken during the first phase are respected in full and translated faithfully into legal terms as quickly as possible,” the draft guidelines read.

That, the senior EU official said, made clear there could be no going back, as Davis had implied might be possible: “The guidelines are David Davis-proof,” the official said.

Guidelines were sent by summit chair Donald Tusk to the 27 other national leaders on Friday. They were little changed when their aides met on Monday to prepare the meeting, principally to spell out more clearly the timing of the next steps in the process and to emphasize continuing obligations on London.

An intention to start negotiating a transition period from Brexit to a future trade pact early in 2018 now includes a plan to be able to launch talks in January. The new draft makes clearer that talks on what happens after transition will start only after further guidelines are agreed in March.

Tusk, in his formal letter on Tuesday inviting leaders to the summit, warned there was no time to lose and highlighted a gnawing concern in Brussels that keeping divergent interests among the 27 in check may be much harder when it comes to a free trade treaty than it has been in settling Britain’s divorce.

“This will be a furious race against time, where again our unity will be key,” Tusk wrote. “And the experience so far has shown that unity is a sine qua non of an orderly Brexit.”

EU officials expect relatively straightforward talks on the transition period, given British desire for a quick deal and EU insistence that it be as simple as possible; essentially Britain will retain all its obligations as an EU member, as well as many of its rights — except, crucially, any say over EU decisions.

Starting trade talks will require, first, more information from May on what future deal she wants. Davis spoke at the weekend of a free trade pact similar to but better than one the EU concluded last year with Canada — “Canada Plus Plus Plus”.

But it will also require hard bargaining among the 27, who have very different relationships and interests with Britain.

Additional reporting by Alastair Macdonald in Brussels and William James and Kate Holton in London; Writing by Alastair Macdonald; Editing by Matthew Mpoke Bigg

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