The leaders of the European Union’s 27 other member states have formally agreed to move to the next phase of Brexit talks at a summit in Brussels on Friday.
European Council president Donald Tusk announced the news in the early afternoon, wishing Theresa May his “congratulations” for the progress.
New red lines issued by the leaders to EU negotiators say that the talks can now discuss “transitional arrangements as well as the overall understanding on the framework for the future relationship” – falling short of full discussions about trade.
The Prime Minister, who flew back to the UK late on Thursday night after attending the summit, was applauded by EU national leaders when she spoke over dinner of her wish to move to the next stage of talks.
European Commission president Jean-Claude said the applause came because “some of us felt, including me, that she did make a big effort and this has to be recognised”.