Brexit talks set to get even tougher in 2018

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When we look back in a few years' time, we may well conclude that agreeing the terms of the Brexit divorce deal was the easy bit.

That is not to say it felt terribly easy and while the Government has heralded certain significant "victories", the overall sense must be that the key terms are rather closer to the EU's starting point than the UK's. 

The next step is to focus on the transition period after Brexit. This alone will not be without its challenges as Mrs May seeks to secure clarity within her own party on the detail and duration of the arrangements. 

This will then leave the "end state". The Prime Minister has made clear that she does not want a Norwegian style deal which retains access to the single market at the cost of accepting its regulation, but also that she wants closer ties than a Canadian style deal. So far the EU's message is clear, the UK is not going to be allowed to cherry pick the best elements of various different models. 

2018 looks as if it will be at least as tough as 2017 for the UK's negotiators.

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