Donald Tusk warns that phase two of Brexit talks will be ‘more challenging’ than the first
Striking a Brexit deal by March 2019 will be “dramatically difficult”, European Council president Donald Tusk has said.
Mr Tusk was speaking yesterday after the UK and the EU agreed to move to the second phase of negotiations.
"It is still realistic and of course dramatically difficult," he said. "For sure, the second phase will be more demanding, more challenging than the first phase."
“We have made good progress, the second phase of talks can start,” German Chancellor Angela Merkel said. “But this will mean even tougher work - that was clear today in the discussion - than we have experienced so far.”
Austrian Chancellor Christian Kern warned that the ‘first phase’ agreement on the Irish border would continue to cause problems. “Our primary school students can see that there is a riddle to be solved,” he said.
Talks will now begin on the terms of the two-year post-Brexit transition deal which the Government hopes to strike with the EU.
A three-page European Council document published yesterday made clear that in return for continued access to the single market and customs union, Britain must follow the EU's "four freedoms", including freedom of movement.
The UK must also continue to abide by the rulings of the European Court of Justice, and will not be allowed to sign any new trade deals with other countries.