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EU Partners OK Terms for Post-Brexit   03/23 06:19

   BRUSSELS (AP) -- The European Union agreed on guidelines Friday that will 
govern negotiations on future relations and trade links with Britain after 
Brexit, almost exactly a year before the country leaves the bloc.

   While chairing a summit of EU leaders in Brussels, European Council 
President Donald Tusk tweeted that the "EU 27 has adopted guidelines for the 
future EU-U.K. relations."

   The document lays out their approach on a variety of matters, including 
future security, defense and foreign policy ties, as well as the outlines of a 
future trade deal.

   Britain may negotiate trade agreements with other countries after it 
officially leaves the bloc at midnight on March 29, 2019, but no pact can enter 
into force without EU permission before the end of December 2020, after a 
post-Brexit transition. During that period, the country will remain part of the 
tariff-free single market and customs union even though it will be out of all 
EU decision-making bodies.

   However, the guidelines warn that the road ahead, particularly on trade, 
will be bumpy and that Britain should not expect to enjoy the commercial 
relations it does today.

   "Divergence in external tariffs and internal rules as well as absence of 
common institutions and a shared legal system, necessitates checks and controls 
to uphold the integrity of the EU single market as well as of the UK market. 
This unfortunately will have negative economic consequences, in particular in 
the United Kingdom," the document said.

   British Prime Minister Theresa May, who is at the summit, said, she was 
"looking for a new dynamic in the next stage of the negotiations so that we can 
ensure that we do develop, that we work together to negotiate and develop that 
strong future economic and security partnership."

   After kissing her hand in front of reporters, EU Brexit negotiator Michel 
Barnier welcomed the move, saying "we are taking a decisive step in this 
difficult and extraordinary negotiation."


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