The European Commission published on Thursday an updated Brexit treaty draft. The new draft leaves little room for optimism, even on the transition deal that has become an operating assumption in the UK.
The draft envisages Brexit to take place on March 29, 2019, followed by a two-year transition period, ending in December 2020.
The final text will have to be negotiated with London but a number of unresolved issues call into question the transition deal.
Amendments to the text published in February aim to provide greater legal clarity, but substantial political challenges remain contentious, including the border in Northern Ireland.
Another contentious issue is the status of EU citizens immigrating to the UK after March 2019, when the UK leaves the EU but enters a transition period that is meant to resemble the status quo. The UK is willing to grant freedom of movement but not family reunifications rights.
Finally, it is unclear what will happen if the UK and the EU do not reach a final Free Trade Agreement within the two-year period, as it is likely.
The next negotiating milestone is March 23, at a European Council.