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UK passes crucial milestone in Brexit negotiations


Theresa May, U.K. prime minister, left, shakes hands with Jean-Claude Juncker, president of the European Commission, ahead of a meeting at the European Commission building in Brussels, Belgium, on Monday, Dec. 4, 2017. European Union chief negotiator Michel Barnier told European lawmakers that a breakthrough is likely on Monday in Brexit talks as May arrived in Brussels.

Dario Pignatelli | Bloomberg via Getty Images

Theresa May, U.K. prime minister, left, shakes hands with Jean-Claude Juncker, president of the European Commission, ahead of a meeting at the European Commission building in Brussels, Belgium, on Monday, Dec. 4, 2017. European Union chief negotiator Michel Barnier told European lawmakers that a breakthrough is likely on Monday in Brexit talks as May arrived in Brussels.

U.K. and European negotiators finally agreed on three key issues that were blocking Brexit talks, paving the way for the next phase of discussion between the two sides.

After six months of intense talks, a settlement has been reached on how much the U.K. will pay before it leaves the Union, on citizens’ rights and on the Irish border. Negotiators are now set to move to phase two of Brexit — discussing trade arrangements.

Agreeing on these three issues was seen by many as the hardest part of the U.K.’s departure from the European Union. European leaders are set to approve the latest deal on Thursday at a summit in Brussels.

There were fears that following a couple of months of delay in the negotiations, the process of the U.K.’s departure from the EU could be at risk. The country is set to leave the Union on March 29, 2019 — meaning that negotiators have a couple of months to talk trade before the deal is sent through the many steps of European lawmaking and approved in time.

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