EU, UK declare first Brexit 'breakthrough'
Britain and the European Union have made sufficient progress in negotiations on the terms of their divorce to move on to the next phase of Brexit talks, the European Commission says.
European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker says he will recommend that negotiations be broadened to future relations and trade.
Juncker told reporters Friday that "I believe that we have now made the breakthrough that we needed."Merry Christmas: Trump pushes for tax cuts
EU leaders meet in Brussels next Thursday and are likely to endorse the assessment that enough progress has been made on the terms of Britain's financial settlement, the status of Irish borders and the rights of citizens hit by Brexit.
Friday's announcement came after UK Prime Minister Theresa May and Brexit minister David Davis made an early-hours journey to Brussels to meet with Juncker and the European Union's chief Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier.
May said intensive talks over the past few days had delivered "a hard-won agreement in all our interests".How to become a millionaire - according to the people who have already done it
The prime minister said the agreement would guarantee the rights of three million EU citizens in the UK "enshrined in UK law and enforced by British courts".
She said it included a financial settlement which was "fair to the British taxpayer" and a guarantee that there will be "no hard border" between Northern Ireland and the Republic, preserving the "constitutional and economic integrity of the United Kingdom".
She said the agreement between the UK and the European Commission, being published in a joint report, would offer "welcome certainty" to businesses.Paradise Papers shine on the world's rich