European Union leaders formally agreed that the UK has offered enough on the divorce settlement for talks to move on to the future relationship.
The EU has made clear there can be no backsliding on promises made in the first round of talks. Those pledges need to be put into writing as soon as possible, as the drafting of the withdrawal agreement will start soon.
Trade talks will start in March, once both sides have figured out their position on the future relationship. There could be exploratory talks between the two sides before that.
The European Union’s 27 remaining leaders have voted unanimously to start the second phase of the Brexit negotiations with the UK, meaning that discussions on a transition period are likely to start in the coming weeks. The two sides will begin work on the outlines of a trade deal after a summit in March.
The 27 governments are scheduled to formally approve it at a meeting on January 29th. It will then be up to the UK to decide whether to accept the proposal wholesale or try to negotiate.
The transition period will be 21 months.