Britian's Prime Minister Theresa May today set out some \u201chard facts\u201d that must be faced by both the UK and the European Union (EU) as they negotiate an ambitious and unprecedented future economic partnership with each other. In a much-anticipated speech in London on the contours of post-Brexit arrangements with the EU, she admitted the \u201ccomplexity\u201d of the task ahead and called on the 27-member economic bloc to look beyond its "off-the-shelf" offers for a trade deal with the UK to achieve the \u201cbroadest and deepest possible\u201d free trade agreement (FTA) than anywhere in the world. \u201cI want to be straight with people \u2013 because the reality is that we all need to face up to some hard facts. We are leaving the single market. Life is going to be different. In certain ways, our access to each other\u2019s markets will be less than it is now,\u201d May said. \u201cThe [European] Commission has suggested that the only option available to the UK is an \u2018off the shelf\u2019 model. But, at the same time, they have also said that in certain areas none of the EU\u2019s third country agreements would be appropriate. we both need to face the fact that this is a negotiation and neither of us can have exactly what we want,\u201d she warned. Laying out some \u201cpragmatic and common sense\u201d steps towards achieving close cooperation between the UK and the EU after Brexit, the Britain Prime Minister called for a \u201ctailored\u201d approach that meets the needs of both economies. In a pointed reference to one of the EU\u2019s oft-repeated accusations hurled at the UK of trying to cherry-pick aspects in its trade negotiation, the British PM stressed that every free trade agreement has varying market access depending on the respective interests of the countries involved. \u201cIf this is cherry-picking, then every trade arrangement is cherry-picking\u2026 What would be cherry-picking would be if we were to seek a deal where our rights and obligations were not held in balance. And I have been categorically clear that is not what we are going to do,\u201d she said. Associate membership of some EU agencies such as those that are critical for the chemicals, medicines and aerospace industries \u2013 the European Medicines Agency, the European Chemicals Agency, and the European Aviation Safety Agency and a bespoke customs partnership were among some of the options offered in her speech, which would be watched keenly in Brussels to seek clarity on issues to move Brexit talks on to the next level. The British PM once again ruled out a \u201chard border\u201d in Northern Ireland and indicated that a special customs arrangement would achieve that goal. Her repeated reference to this point during the speech was aimed at countering the EU\u2019s publication of a first draft of a legal document earlier this week which suggested Northern Ireland would remain within the EU's Customs Union while the rest of the UK may not. This has become one of the most contentious issues in the negotiation as UK territory Northern Ireland must resolve its border relationship with EU member-country Ireland post-Brexit. \u201cWe have ruled out any physical infrastructure at the border, or any related checks and controls. But it is not good enough to say, \u2018We won\u2019t introduce a hard border; if the EU forces Ireland to do it, that\u2019s down to them\u2019. We chose to leave; we have a responsibility to help find a solution,\u201d she said, stressing on her commitment to ensure Brexit does not \u201cdamage the integrity" of the United Kingdom. Theresa May, whose speech had to be moved from Newcastle to Mansion House in the heart of London\u2019s financial district due to extreme weather conditions caused by days of heavy snowfall, opened her speech by paying tribute to the emergency services working round the clock to help stranded commuters. The crux of her speech, titled 'Our Future Partnership', revolved around "five tests" \u2013 implementing the result of the June 2016 referendum in favour of Brexit; reaching an enduring future partnership that stands the test of time; protecting jobs and security; delivering an outcome that is consistent with creating an outward-looking Britain; and bringing the country together. She set out the UK's goals as wanting freedom to negotiate trade agreements with other countries around the world, take back control of its laws and have \u201cas frictionless a border as possible\u201d with the EU. \u201cMy message to our friends in Europe is clear. We know what we want. We understand your principles. We have a shared interest in getting this right. So let\u2019s get on with it,\u201d she said. The UK is due to leave the EU on March 29, 2019, but it wants a transition period lasting around two years after that, intended to smooth the way to the future post-Brexit relationship between the UK and the EU. While there have been some disagreements over this implementation period in the past few weeks, the British PM claimed that both sides were close to agreeing on the terms of the implementation period. \u201cOf course, some points of difference remain \u2013 but I am confident these can be resolved in the days ahead,\u201d she said. The tone of her speech was conciliatory, aimed at hard Brexiters within her own Conservative party as well as tough-talking EU diplomats. It marks a crucial point in the Brexit negotiations, which must move on to thrashing out details of a future relationship later this month.