The U.K. lost its first battle with the European Union over the timetable for Brexit talks as the bloc’s chief negotiator warned that the consequences of leaving will be “substantial.”
On day one of the negotiations, Prime Minister Theresa May’s government gave in to EU demands to discuss the terms of its divorce — including the exit fee — before any consideration can begin on the future trade deal Britain wants with Europe’s common market.
The EU’s chief negotiator, Michel Barnier, bluntly warned that such an accord would not be fleshed out until after the U.K. leaves in less than two years. It was a clear rebuff to May’s stated ambition of wrapping up a new free trade agreement quickly.
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