European Union transition deal 'crucial' for automotive industry - NFDA

David Davis and Michel Barnier- have negotiated a post Brexit transition deal

Meanwhile European Council president Donald Tusk has warned there is no guarantee EU leaders will accept the agreement covering the terms of Britain's withdrawal when they meet in Brussels this week. They could not leave legal uncertainty on the issue in the agreement text.

The result, diplomats said, was the compromise text which offers "improved" equivalence - the "improved" is largely meaningless, though the note refers to the fact that the European Union is reviewing its equivalence rules for a range of countries.

With days to go before the 27 European Union leaders are expected to welcome the two sides coming together over a 129-page withdrawal agreement, including the terms of the transition, Madrid said it was withholding its support.

The UK will be able to negotiate and sign its own trade deals during the transition period. Asked by a Spanish journalist on Monday whether the transition agreement covered Gibraltar, Davis replied: "Yes, it does cover Gibraltar".

In the latest version of the EU's draft plan for the post-Brexit future, financial services are mentioned explicitly for the first time.

Yesterday's agreement saw a number of concessions made by both sides, a pattern which is likely to be repeated in the next round of negotiations.

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Failure to to secure agreement on the terms of the UK's withdrawal would be a bitter setback for Mrs May, casting major doubt on her goal of getting broad agreement on Britain's future relationship with European Union, including a free trade deal, by October.

The text makes clear that would work on existing "equivalence" rules for Britain's big financial services industry, allowing non-EU firms to operate in certain sectors where their supervision regime is judged by the European Union to be equivalent to that of the bloc itself. "What lies at the end is often the most hard", Barnier said.

It also said any new customs checks "would add cost, cause delays and threaten productivity". It argues that financial stability is at stake, as well as the integrity of the single market.

The text on financial services, which has been drafted by France and Luxembourg, states that "the aim should be reviewed and improved equivalence mechanisms".

The commission has already started to review financial services legislation, to ensure that equivalence rules are appropriate for the situation after the withdrawal of the United Kingdom, according to the document.

While EU officials have not hammered out what "improved" means, the outcome falls short of British hopes for a system that would come close to replicating the financial services "passports" that will be lost after Brexit.

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