December 15, 2017 / 1:37 PM / 6 months ago

EU's Tusk sees 'exploratory' talks with UK on post-Brexit trade

BRUSSELS (Reuters) - EU summit chair Donald Tusk said on Friday that the bloc would start “exploratory contacts” with Britain on what London wants in a future trade relationship, as well as starting discussion on a post-Brexit transition.

He was speaking to reporters after an EU summit that gave a formal green light to opening a new phase of negotiations. Full talks on future trade will not start until after another summit in March to agree the EU’s own negotiating objectives.

EU chief executive Jean-Claude Juncker praised British Prime Minister Theresa May for a deal on divorce terms last week. He called her a “tough, smart, polite and friendly negotiator” and joked that he had obliged her to travel to Brussels for a 7 a.m. meeting a week ago.

Reporting by Alastair Macdonald; Editing by Alissa de Carbonnel

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