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European Union pressing United Kingdom to speed up Brexit negotiations

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"It should come as no surprise that the only remaining possible model is a free trade agreement", European Council President Donald Tusk said in his statement upon publishing the guidelines, refusing much of the vision that May had shared in her Manson speech.

Britain has so far failed to bring forward "specific and realistic" alternative proposals to keep the Irish border open without activating the EU's "backstop" option, he said.

May and EU27 leaders is set to hold a new round Brexit negotiation on March 22 and 23, with hopes for the consolidation of a transition deal immediately following March 29, 2019, when Britain will become a third country.

The European Union would make the point before EU leaders meet at a summit on March 22-23 that the EU was a long-standing and trusted security partner of the United States and thus not a threat to national security and that the Pentagon only needed 3 percent of US annual steel production to serve its needs.

It also "emphasises" that the "backstop option" in terms of the Irish border which could see a customs break between Northern Ireland and the rest of the United Kingdom "provides a concrete solution" in case "no alternative is found". "So we will be firm on this", he added.

Meanwhile, the Taoiseach called for "certainty" from London regarding how it plans to protect the Border and how it sees its future relationship with Brussels.

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"It's hard to see how any deal that did not include financial services can look like a fair and balanced deal", said Mr Hammond.

A draft joint position from the remaining 27 European Union members, seen by Reuters ahead of its official publication later today, said the bloc was determined to foster a close partnership with Britain.

However, Mr Tusk shot him down while in Dublin, saying "We cannot offer the same in services as we can offer in goods". The UK will look to match European Union regulatory standards (and possibly adopt identical rules) to ensure that trade in most goods remains as free as possible.

"Red tape" would also impact a number of other sectors, including agriculture, agri-food, consumer goods, chemicals and plastics, and financial services, due to the necessity to install new infrastructure to continue to serve clients within the European Union, the Oliver Wyman and Clifford Change report stated. I fully respect the chancellor's competence in defining what's in the UK's interest.

"What we can agree, I think our position as Parliament is a reasonable one and gives an indication that we want to have, finally, an agreement that avoids the most hard damage that can be created".

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