nsucurrent.com April 26, 2018

Britain, EU agree terms for Brexit transition deal

20 March 2018, 04:20 | Colleen Roy

Britain, EU agree terms for Brexit transition 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

But he stressed that the thorny issue of how to avoid a hard border between European Union member Ireland and the British province of Northern Ireland "remains a key priority for both negotiating teams and solidarity with our European Union partners remains strong". A weekend of intensive talks, however, has broken the deadlock - for now.

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.

Prime Minister Theresa May, who relies on pro-British Northern Ireland members of parliament to pass her Brexit legislation, had rejected a fallback proposed by Brussels three weeks ago. We welcome confirmation that European Union citizens coming to the United Kingdom will enjoy the same rights as those having arrived before the start of the transition period and that United Kingdom proposals advocating discrimination between European Union citizens arrived before and after the start of the transition period have been rejected.

"We must have a workable and practical solution to avoid a hard border and protect north south cooperation", Barnier said.

"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".

Longer term, the transition deal may buy people time but business still faces a "cliff edge" of uncertainty come 2021.

He said that negotiators, working day and night recently, had agreed on "a large part of what would constitute" the draft worldwide legal agreement governing Britain's departure. Those deals would then take effect once Britain was free to do so in 2021.

The Leave Means Leave campaign accused him of "caving in" on the Irish border.

"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". "And this option will allow citizens who so wish, to have immediate legal certainty on their right of residence after the transition period", said Barnier. "Good progress I understand but let's see why Barnier and Davis have to say", a senior European Union source told AFP on condition of anonymity when asked if there was an agreement. However, Britain also notched some gains it had pushed for.

Davis however denied that Britain had backed down, saying it was still pushing for a solution as part of a trade deal which would mean there was no need for the backstop.

"While some companies would have liked to see copper-bottomed legal guarantees around the transition, the political agreement reached in Brussels is sufficient for most businesses to plan ahead with a greater degree of confidence".

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