European Union and United Kingdom reach Brexit transition deal

Glen Norman
March 20, 2018

The European Union (EU) and Britain on Monday reached a Brexit transition deal, which is expected to be signed off by leaders during Friday's EU Summit, Xinhua reported.

Both sides also pledged to act in "good faith" with a joint committee to oversee the agreement, including a promise that the European Union won't pass laws that would damage Britain during the transition period when it will have no vote.

The provisional accord, which is not yet set in stone, includes the terms for a 21-month transition period after Brexit, which is scheduled to happen on March 29, 2019, to allow business to adjust.

The issue of the border between European Union member state Ireland and Britain's territory Northern Ireland is central to an agreement, but negotiators are struggling to find a way to keep people, goods and services flowing while respecting European Union controls.

The EU and Ireland had insisted that the backstop option was simply the translation of an agreement struck in a joint report between the United Kingdom and the European Commission in December a year ago.

Sterling climbed to $1.41 against the dollar and reached 87 pence against the euro on news of the deal.

Alongside him, British envoy David Davis said the progress made is a "significant step" toward a final deal. "Instead they now have certainty about the terms that will apply immediately after our withdrawal".

Britain argues it has two other preferred outcomes for the Irish border, both dependent on agreement on future EU-UK trade rules. Ian Wright, Food and Drink Federation (FDF) director general, said it supported a transition period of at least two years.

No agreement has yet been reached on the right operational approach to avoid a hard Irish border, the EU's draft agreement showed.

As for citizens' rights, European citizens from the 27 states of the EU who arrive in Britain during the transitional period will have same rights as citizens who arrived before the Brexit, said the deal.

The 129-page draft agreement is mostly composed of text highlighted in green, indicating that the negotiators have agreed.

"I am anxious that attempts are being made by the British negotiators to nominally agree to certain provisions on the border in the hope of moving on to trade negotiations which are their main concern as far I can see".

"Nevertheless, it will preserve the benefits, the advantages of the single market and the customs union. and will therefore be required to respect all the European rules just like all member states do".

Ms May, who depends on Northern Irish votes for her slender parliamentary majority, said no British prime minister could ever agree to such an isolation of the province from the mainland. "But it remains our intention to achieve a partnership that is so close as to not require specific measures in relation to Northern Ireland". According to the Guardian, leader of the Scottish Conservatives Ruth Davidson said, "That we now have to wait until 2020 to assume full control is an undoubted disappointment".

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