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Brexit faces its hardest phase after progress in divorce

EU leaders note sufficient progress in first stage of negotiation with the United Kingdom

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Brexit faces its hardest phase after progress in divorce

The European Union delivered this Friday magic words that consecrate first progress of Brexit since it started process. The Heads of State and Government noted that re is "sufficient progress" in phase of divorce and that future relationship can be discussed. Despite enthusiasm y tried to convey both Brussels and London, route ahead is steepest. It is a threefold challenge: to close key questions of divorce, to design transition and to outline future relationship between United Kingdom and EU.

EU leaders agree to move on to second phase of Brexit talks. Congratulations PM @resa_may

— Donald Tusk (@eucopresident) December 15, 2017

The Brexit has become a rollercoaster with emotions that change dramatically. After gas light that may felt in previous summits to talk about process, leaders responded to prime minister with an unusual applause when he took floor at dinner on Thursday. Suffocated by political pressure he suffers in his country, premier explained to his still partners how much is being implied in this negotiation. "It's no secret that we want to move on to next stages with ambition and creativity," he asked. As unique — and eloquent — answer he received a round of applause.

Asked about this gesture of support, Spanish president, Mariano Rajoy, argued: "What I wanted to express is, fundamentally, that I would like se negotiations to move forward quickly. Spain wants to have best possible relationship with United Kingdom. " To enhance role of prime minister in this trance, Juncker added: "May has been a tough, intelligent and cordial negotiator."

The brevity of procedure among 27 national leaders-without British leader-to give ir approval this Friday to divorce of Brexit evidenced that road was unlocked. The formal ratification of text barely lasted 10 minutes. The agreement y reached last week May and Juncker on axes of separation had turned leaders ' quotation into a mere formality. It was first optimistic note of a tortuous process that still has many outstanding challenges. The signed document makes it clear to what extent it is urgent to resolve m: "Negotiations in second phase can only progress if all commitments acquired in first are fully respected and are faithfully translated into law as quickly as possible."

Riddles to solve

The leaders did not take long to allude to those challenges. "The United Kingdom has to tell us what it wants and we have to see if it is compatible with our desires. The second phase will be even harder, "predicted German chancellor Angela Merkel, in a joint press conference with French President. Emmanuel Macron added: "For future agreement it cannot make bilateral or sectoral dialogues". And President of Council, Donald Tusk, warned of difficulties to meet deadlines envisaged. "It's still realistic, but it's also dramatically difficult. The second phase will be more demanding, "he admitted.

There are a number of tasks ahead. In first place, close nothing despicable loose fringes of exit agreement. At same time, starting to design transition, which will be expected to be an extension of UK's status quo in EU — almost without rights, but with all obligations — for a period close to two years. And if London clarifies what relationship he wants to build with his already European partners when that period is over--about 2021--European leaders will begin, as soon in March, to negotiate that new framework.

Among all unknowns to be solved, most complex is border between Republic of Ireland and Norrn Ireland, belonging to United Kingdom. The commitments outlined in divorce agreement are a difficult circle to square. The Austrian chancellor, Christian Kern, rightly expressed it. "There can be No border controls between norrn and sourn Ireland; There can be no border controls between Norrn Ireland and United Kingdom, but re may be between United Kingdom and EU. Even our elementary students see that this is a riddle, "he ironed.

Juncker and Tusk collide with refugees

The clash between European institutions for refugee quotas resonated at close of summit. The President of Commission, Jean-Claude Juncker, and that of Council, Donald Tusk, showed ir differences in press. "I have not changed my mind; We need a more effective method, "stressed Tusk. Juncker added: "I do not understand that distribution of refugees puts at risk social system of Europe. We should calm down a little. "

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