The flags of the United Kingdom and the European Union merge into each other, in the background a city

© istockphoto.com/melis82

The European Council decided today to move the negotiations on the United Kingdom’s departure from the European Union to the second phase. These talks will focus on the relationship between the EU and the UK following Brexit.

Federal Minister for Economic Affairs and Energy Brigitte Zypries said: “I am glad that we have been able to make substantive progress on the Brexit negotiations. We can now look to the future. The key issue for future cooperation between Britain and the EU will be the shape of our trading and economic relations.

The European Member States must continue to stick together after Brexit. Brexit must not be a gateway to protectionism: isolationism would damage the economy in Britain and the EU. I therefore want us to continue to aim for open markets, free trade and the free movement of people. At the same time, we must not fall back behind the high standards we have achieved in Europe for consumers, workers and the environment.”