EU, British negotiators hail major progress on Brexit deal

Britain's Secretary of State for Exiting the European Union David Davis and European Union's chief Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier pose ahead of a meeting in Brussels Belgium
EU, British negotiators hail major progress on Brexit deal
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20 March, 2018

He also welcomed wording that gives Britain some say in European Union policy during the transition, notably on fishing quotas, and an ability to refuse to implement things it did not agree with - some of his Conservative party allies have complained that the transition deal would leave Britain a "vassal state" of the EU.

One sticking point that could unravel the agreement is the issue of the border between the Republic of Ireland, which is, and will remain a part of the European Union and Northern Ireland, which is part of the UK.

"We were able this morning to agree, after all those days and nights of hard work, on a large part of what will be an worldwide agreement for the orderly withdrawal of the United Kingdom", Barnier told a press conference with Davis.

According to the deal, the United Kingdom will continue to retain the benefits of the single market and customs union for two years, while it will lose its role in making any decision-making institutions, which Prime Minister Theresa May has vocally opposed. We look forward to working with Government in developing ambitious new trade agreements during the transition, building on the successes of the pig industry in exporting beyond the EU.

Its director general Ian Wright said: "While it is positive to see how much has been agreed so far, particularly in relation to citizens' rights, and a time-limited transition period, FDF has long supported a transition period of at least two years".

Sterling rose as much as 1 per cent to $1.4088 yesterday, its highest intraday-rise in over five weeks, after Brexit secretary David Davis and chief European Union negotiator Michel Barnier hailed a "decisive step" forward in the talks.

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He argued that Mrs May had been able to "fudge" the issue until now but that strategy "doesn't work any more". Among other issues, it would set out how the two sides intend to avoid a hard border in Ireland.

The UK had wanted that period to last longer, until March 2021, to allow businesses in the UK enough time to adjust, but the European Union wasn't having any of it.

"It remains our intention to achieve a partnership that is so close as to not require specific measures", Davis said on Monday, insisting on a solution "that is acceptable to both sides".

Banks and insurers have said they might not be able to rely on such a political deal as it will not be formally ratified by governments until October or later, which would be too late for them to avoid making adjustments to their operations.

"We are committed to working during this period in good faith and to continuing to respect the principle of loyal cooperation", he said, adding that "this time of transition will be the one during which we will have to finalize our future relationship".

The EU secured agreement that Britain would offer residence rights to EU citizens who arrive after Brexit but before 2021.


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