“Decisive Step” In the terms for Brexit Transition Period
Brexit negotiators Michel Barnier and David Davis have agreed of a “large part” of the “orderly withdrawal” of the UK. Announced earlier today, has been labelled a “decisive step” and will extend the transition period from 29 March, 2019 to December 2020.
A crucial element of the agreement, is the guarantee of the rights of 4.5m EU citizens in the UK and the 1.2m UK citizens in the EU after Brexit. This will include giving EU citizens arriving in the UK during the transition the same rights and guarantees as those who arrive before Brexit.
The EU has also agreed to allow the UK to negotiate and sign trade deals throughout the transition period.
However, one of the most important elements of the dispute, that of Irish border, is yet to be fully agreed upon. The proposed deal will include an emergency “backstop” option to avoid a hard border that could see Northern Ireland effectively staying in parts of the single market and the customs union – a move which Prime Minister Theresa May has opposed.
Nevertheless, both the UK and the EU hope the terms of an agreement on the transitional period can be signed off by Mrs May’s fellow leaders at the EU summit this week.
Theresa May has said the deal showed that “with goodwill on both sides”, it was possible to agree an arrangement that works for all.”
Her Brexit Secretary, Mr Davis said the move would would give business the stability it had asked for, and would include safeguards for annual fishing negotiations during the transition period.
— BBC Breaking News (@BBCBreaking) March 19, 2018
He said he hoped negotiations on the UK’s future relationship with the EU – including a free trade agreement – could now start “as soon as is possible… we need to get on with this now”, adding that it is set to be “the biggest, most comprehensive, most effective trade deal ever”.
“We must seize the moment and carry on the momentum of the last few weeks,” he said.
“The deal today should give us confidence that a good deal for the UK and EU is closer than ever before.”
Representing the European Union, Mr Barnier said the new draft legal text marks a “decisive step” but stressed that this is “not the end of the road”.
Among other issues the two sides have had to negotiate for the transition period have been what role the European Court of Justice has in the UK, whether the UK can negotiate future trade deals with non-EU countries as well as the continuing issues of Gibraltar post-Brexit.
Today’s agreement has been widely welcomed as a step in the right direction and signifies that the government is starting to obtain some strong strides in the right direction.