I believe we have now made the breakthrough we needed.>> Positive and ambitious future relationship.>> As British and EU leaders look to the new year, they are likely to see some of the trickiest moments for Brexit ahead. I'm Elizabeth Piper, chief political correspondent for the UK, for Reuters.
I think we can say what a difference a year makes. Last year in December, May attended an EU summit and there were pictures of her sitting isolated, fiddling with her sleeve, looking very nervous as the other EU leaders embraced, chatted animatedly amongst each other. Now, they feel they have got some sort of honest broker in May, and they don't want a change in the Conservative Party leadership at the moment.
For fear that a hard line Brexiteer could replace May. Well, as Teresa May said herself, this year was meant to be the easy part of Brexit. Next year contains many pitfalls for the Prime Minister and her government.>> No Brexit.>> Next year we will start off by talking about the transition deal, which is a two year limited transition, so it which will be largely the same as what we have now.
That seems to be pretty much agreed between Britain and the EU, the nasty part is going to be the trade negotiations. The EU do want us to stick as closely as possible to their rules and regulations, that would solve the Northern Ireland problem. But there are many in May's cabinet that want to diverge, they want to set up Britain to become, if not a little mini Singapore, but some other type of country that can cut taxes as easily and move ahead.
After the conference speech where Teresa May as Prime Minister for the first time set out how she saw Brexit, many people expected a hard, clean break with the European Union. I think since then, her position has become much clearer, and after the first phase of talks it looks like we're heading for a friendlier divorce.
A friendlier way to talk to the EU as equal partners and to try and move on to the second phase. But as they say, the second phase holds many pitfalls for May and her government.