EU, UK agree draft deal on post-Brexit ties
Updated 18:10, 25-Nov-2018
British and European Union negotiators have agreed in principle to a text setting out the two sides' future relationship, European Council President Donald Tusk said on Thursday.
"The Commission President has informed me that it has been agreed at negotiators' level and agreed in principle at political level, subject to the endorsement of the leaders," Tusk said on Twitter.
Last week, the UK and the EU agreed a 585-page legally-binding withdrawal agreement, which sets out many of the terms of Britain's future arrangement with the EU, including the “divorce settlement” that is owed to the institution, new customs arrangements, terms of future migration between the two parties and the Northern Ireland border issue.
The political declaration is a separate, far shorter document, setting out broad aspirations for UK-EU relations after Brexit.
It is not legally-binding and is non-committal.
A draft copy of the UK's withdrawal agreement from EU given to media, Brussels, Belgium, November 15, 2018. /VCG Photo

A draft copy of the UK's withdrawal agreement from EU given to media, Brussels, Belgium, November 15, 2018. /VCG Photo

Britain is due to leave the EU on March 29, 2019, and diplomats are trying to finish a divorce deal and the accompanying outline of their future relationship so that EU leaders can rubber-stamp them at a summit on Sunday.
Tusk said the text had been discussed on Wednesday by British Prime Minister Theresa May and European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker.
According to the draft declaration agreed by the United Kingdom and the European Commission, the “parties envisage having a trading relationship on goods that is as close as possible, with a view to facilitating the ease of legitimate trade.”
The draft declaration will now be screened by national envoys of the remaining 27 EU states meeting in Brussels on Thursday.
If the withdrawal agreement and the political declaration are signed off on Sunday, Theresa May will then turn her attention to getting the deal through the UK Parliament.
Both the EU and Britain “should aim to deliver a level of liberalization in trade in services well beyond the parties' WTO commitments,” according to the draft declaration.
The transition period, which Britain and the EU hope will begin once Britain leaves the EU on March 29, can be extended “for up to one or two years,” according to the draft declaration.
May is set to make an "emergency statement" in the British parliament on the state of Brexit negotiations on Thursday afternoon, according to the Office of the Leader of the House of Commons.
(Top Photo: European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker chairs the EU Commission's weekly college meeting in Brussels, Belgium, November 22, 2018. /Reuters Photo)
Source(s): Reuters