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A Year of Tough Talks Awaits the EU and U.K.

MIN READJan 2, 2018 | 09:00 GMT

Protesters in London show their support for the European Union outside the British Parliament on Dec. 21, 2017. The United Kingdom and the European Union will find it difficult to reach a free trade agreement in 2018, given their conflicting interests.

(DANIEL LEAL-OLIVAS/AFP/Getty Images)

The new year will be one of intense negotiations between the United Kingdom and the European Union. On Dec. 15, the European Council decided that the first phase of Brexit talks, which focused on the terms of the United Kingdom's departure from the European Union, had progressed enough to move to the next phase, which will focus on Britain's future relationship with the bloc. The EU-U.K. divorce talks were complex; the negotiations about their future ties will be even more difficult. Britain's desire to regain sovereignty in areas such as trade and immigration will clash with the European Union's goal of protecting the unity of the single market, the area where goods, people, services and capital move freely....

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