After months of wrangling over the terms of the United Kingdom’s withdrawal from the European Union in March 2019, there has been a breakthrough.
The 27 remaining EU states have approved guidelines for talks on Britain’s future trade and security relations with its European neighbours following Brexit.
Prime Minister Theresa May has called for a "new dynamic" full of “energy and ambition” in the next stage of negotiations to reach a deal which will be good for both Britain and Europe.
The key individuals involved in Britain exiting the EU have responded to the developments.
Michel Barnier said it marked a “decisive” moment in “this difficult and extraordinary negotiation".
He also cautioned that the future partnership negotiated over the coming months "must respect the principles and identity of the EU and the single market".
The guidelines will see the UK observe EU rules until the end of 2020 while having freedom to negotiate and ratify trade deals with countries outside the bloc.
Britain believes that moving on to trade talks with the EU will help break the deadlock over the Irish border and prevent a "backstop" solution proposed by Brussels which would keep Northern Ireland in the customs union.