U.K., European Union Reach Deal on Brexit Divorce Terms

The U.K. and the European Union reached an agreement Friday on Brexit divorce terms after six months of tense talks, opening the way for negotiations to advance on a trade deal.

U.K. Prime Minister Theresa May and European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker made the announcement after an early morning meeting on Friday in Brussels.

Mr. Juncker said the Commission’s negotiating team is now formally recommending that EU leaders agree to advance the talks when they meet next week.

“I believe we have now made the breakthrough we needed,” Mr. Juncker said.

The agreement on divorce terms–which include a Brexit financial settlement, the future rights of EU citizens in the U.K. and avoiding the restoration of a hard border on the island of Ireland–means EU leaders are likely to agree for talks to move ahead.

If EU leaders, who will meet in Brussels on Dec. 14 and 15, give the go-ahead, talks on a trade agreement and a post-Brexit transitional period could begin within weeks.

Britain voted in June 2016 to leave the EU. The planned exit date is March 2019. Mrs. May has said Britain will request a two-year transition after Brexit to avoid a hard landing for the British economy.

EU officials have said a future trade deal could take years. A trade agreement can only be signed after Britain leaves the bloc.

Source: Dow Jones