LONDON — Britain’s painful path out of the European Union crossed a crucial threshold on Thursday when negotiators from London and Brussels agreed on a text outlining future ties, a document replete with promises of ambition but artfully ambiguous on crucial questions that have cleaved British politics.
The 26-page draft document is nonbinding and would supplement a legal withdrawal agreement that lists the “divorce” terms reached between Britain and the European Union, which it is scheduled to exit on March 29.
Nevertheless, its conclusion opens the way for a summit meeting of the bloc’s leaders, who must approve the plan for the withdrawal, known as Brexit, and are scheduled to meet on Sunday in Brussels.
“The British people want this to be settled,” Britain’s prime minister, Theresa May, said, speaking briefly outside her office on Downing Street. “They want a good deal that sets us on course for a brighter future.”
“That deal is within our grasp and I am determined to deliver it,” she added.
However, assuming the European Union leaders sign off on the deal on Sunday, Mrs. May faces a huge challenge to secure the agreement of a majority of British lawmakers, many of whom have already expressed their opposition to her Brexit plan.
Though the draft political declaration was intended to reassure some opponents, its critics immediately dismissed it. Nicola Sturgeon, leader of the Scottish National Party, wrote on Twitter that it was so vague that it “adds up to a blindfold Brexit.”
Mark Francois, a senior pro-Brexit Conservative lawmaker, told the BBC that the document was a “fig leaf” and “26 pages of political camouflage.”
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