May says UK, EU to start new talks right away

BRUSSELS (AP) — Prime Minister Theresa May says Britain and the European Union will start talking about their future relationship “straight away,” even though the EU has stressed no trade deal can be finalized until after the divorce agreement is settled and Britain has left the bloc.

May also said Britain will leave the EU on March 29, 2019, although a deal between the U.K. and the bloc says Britain will continue to be bound by EU rules during a transition period of about two years after that.

The 27 other EU members on Friday gave the go-ahead for Brexit talks to move into their second phase, discussing transition and future relations.

Speaking from her southern England constituency, May said “the U.K. and the EU have shown what can be achieved by commitment and perseverance on both sides.”

She said the agreement was “an important step on the road to delivering the smooth and orderly Brexit that people voted for” last year.