The President of the European Council has said the next phase of the Brexit talks will be a “real test” of the European Union’s unity.
Donald Tusk was speaking at the start of a major EU summit in Brussels, where the other 27 member-states are expected to give the green light to discussing trade with Britain in the Brexit negotiations.
He said Friday would formally mark the end of the first phase of Brexit negotiations, which covered Britain’s financial liabilities, citizen's rights, and the Irish border.
Theresa May is to arrive at the summit with weakened authority after her Government was dealt a major blow in regard to key legislation to convert EU law into UK statute once the country leaves the bloc.
An amendment tabled by Dominic Grieve to grant MPs a meaningful vote on the terms of the final Brexit deal was passed on a majority of four.
The Prime Minister will hope her setback in the House of Commons will not impact the confidence EU leaders have in her authority to oversee Brexit.