Elizabeth Tower (Big Ben) at the Houses of Parliament is pictured in London on March 30, 2017. / AFP / Justin TALLIS
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A transition period offered to Britain by the European Union in Brexit negotiating guidelines it issued on Friday is the only way to avoid the talks failing, an ally of German Chancellor Angela Merkel said.Detlef Seif, the deputy EU spokesman for Merkel's conservative parliamentary bloc, said there were effectively only 15 months for the negotiations and this was insufficient time to wrap up Britain's exit from the bloc.Steffen Seibert, Merkel's spokesman, told reporters on Friday that negotiations about a future free trade deal between Britain and the EU could take place only after the contours of the Brexit divorce talks were clear.
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