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[FLORENCE,Italy] UK Prime Minister Theresa May laid out her most detailed blueprint for a Brexit deal yet as she sought to break the deadlock in talks with the European Union.
Addressing an audience including euroskeptic Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson in Florence, Italy, she called for a transitional phase lasting around two years to provide businesses and citizens with clarity, and promised the UK would honor its financial commitments during the period. She also pressed for a unique and sweeping trade deal, offered more legal protections for EU citizens residing in Britain and said there should be deeper security cooperation.
"I look ahead with optimism," May said in the great hall of a former monastery in the Tuscan capital. "We want to work hand in hand with the European Union rather than as part of the European Union." It is May's first major intervention in the Brexit process since triggering the formal withdrawal under Article 50 of the EU treaty in March, and her first roadmap for the departure since a speech at London's Lancaster House in January.
As the clock ticks down to withdrawal day on March 29, 2019, the UK needs a breakthrough in its negotiations with the bloc. Talks have become stuck on the issues of money and citizens' rights since they began three months ago.