The U.K.’s ambition to get a trade deal agreed before it leaves the bloc took another hit when it emerged that EU officials are planning to offer Theresa May just a vague political statement short on detail.

The EU has long said that a full trade deal wouldn’t be done before exit day, and that the transition period would be used for detailed negotiations on future commerce. It’s planning a non-binding statement on the future relationship, which will accompany the divorce treaty. The U.K. maintains, at least in public, that it wants the trade agreement wrapped up before leaving, and there is a good reason for that: once it has left, it will have agreed to pay a hefty financial settlement and will have lost much of its leverage.

But Ian Wishart reports that even the political statement of intent will be vague, according to four people familiar with the situation. The bloc will start working on the document over the next three months and aims to publish it before the summer. It could be just 30 or 40 pages long. For comparison, the Canada-EU trade deal is 1,600 pages.

There’s some tension within the EU camp over this. Some of the 27 remaining EU governments are open to setting out more detail in some sectors, which could include where the U.K. agrees to remain in alignment with EU rules and standards, two of the people said. As well as tying the British government down to fixed principles, it could also help build trust when it comes to fleshing out the full deal, they said. And a greater level of detail could hinge on how quickly the British government can provide a concrete negotiating position and accept the EU’s conditions, one official said.

While May went some way to crystallizing her vision for the future relationship in her Mansion House speech last Friday, the EU plan reflects the belief in Brussels and continental capitals that the U.K.’s position is still unclear, with significant differences between the two sides remaining. Read more about the speech here.

Three months of negotiations on the future relationship will start after a summit of EU leaders on March 22 to 23, with the European Commission planning to release a draft of the political declaration in June. The EU side wants to get the wording wrapped up by October to give the U.K. and European parliaments time to approve it. The U.K. reckons it has a bit more time to get it done.

Brexit Latest

EU Skeptical | One of Theresa May’s most important announcements in her Mansion House speech was that she wanted some key industries to continue to be overseen by EU regulators. But Michel Barnier’s aide Stefaan De Rynck was skeptical about the idea in a speech in London on Monday. He said the agencies enact the decisions of the European Commission and operate in the context of single market principles. While their work is technical, it can also become political. And where there is EU law, “there is always the ECJ.”

Wage Boost for Builders | The slowdown in immigration is pushing up wages, creating a headache for construction firms and ultimately the government as it tries to address the housing shortage. Weekly salaries for construction workers have risen 5.2 percent to £606 ($838) since the EU referendum, the biggest gain of any sector, while net EU migration has fallen by more than half. Some developers are hoping apprenticeship programs will help fill the gap, Sharon Smyth reports.

Foster’s Demand | The Brexit withdrawal treaty needs to include an explicit guarantee that no border will be placed in the Irish Sea, according to Democratic Unionist Party leader Arlene Foster, who meets Barnier on Tuesday. “It is utterly unacceptable for Northern Ireland to be treated separately from the rest of the United Kingdom as set out in the draft EU legal text.”

Hammond’s Next Fight | Chancellor of the Exchequer Philip Hammond on Monday set out some of his spending on contingency planning for a no-deal Brexit, but also appeared to sow the seeds for a future fight. He said once the transition deal is secured, the prospect of a no-deal Brexit in 2019 can be discounted, and therefore spending won’t be needed on that outcome. The hardliners probably won’t like that.

Transition Risk | EU officials have started emphasizing that even if a transition deal is agreed upon in March it won’t be a sure thing until the whole withdrawal agreement is signed. That’s because nothing is agreed until everything is agreed, and without a withdrawal deal there’s no legal basis for the transition. Stefaan De Rynck made the point again on Monday. Businesses take note.

Irish Border Model | Theresa May said she was looking at the border between the U.S. and Canada as a possible model for the frontier between the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland after Brexit. Trouble is, Ireland’s prime minister rejected that idea six months ago, and did so again on Monday.

London’s Loss | Zutec, an Irish tech company, has decided to list in Stockholm rather than London because of Brexit, CEO Brendan O’Riordan said. “Ireland is too small and is mainly for dual-listing companies, AIM would be the norm for an Irish company of our size but with Brexit on the horizon there is a little bit of uncertainty so we decided against that,” he said.

True, But | May repeated her desire on Monday for the trade deal with the EU to include financial services and said the bloc has done so before. While that’s true, no other trade deal has what the City is looking for, Alexander Weber writes. Take the EU’s arrangement with Canada, where a whole chapter is indeed devoted to financial services. Since it doesn’t allow Canadian banks to do business in the EU without seeking a local license first, it doesn’t come close to the kind of relationship sought by the British financial industry. A 2014 report by the European Parliament concludes that the bloc’s trade agreements with Chile, South Korea and other nations do little to facilitate the “cross-border supply” of services.

Inside the Tent | Pro-EU Tory rebels have been invited to Downing Street for “peace talks” with May, the Independent reports. A dozen lawmakers who have tried to change May’s position were asked in to discuss her Mansion House speech and the looming clash over amendments to her legislation.

Coming Up | Brexit talks in Brussels, Barnier meets Foster, EU Parliament’s Brexit coordinator Guy Verhofstadt meets May in London, Brexit Secretary David Davis speaks to parliamentary committee, May chairs Cabinet meeting.

And Finally…

Stefaan De Rynck was asked after his LSE speech on Monday night what had most surprised him about the Brexit process. Ever the diplomat, he took some time to respond. His final answer? “What has surprised many is the unity of the EU. Has it surprised us? No, but it is surprising.”