Britain, EU clinch deal on Brexit transition

British government Brexit secretary David Davis and European Union chief Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier in Brussels

British government Brexit secretary David Davis and European Union chief Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier in Brussels

Britain and the European Union on Monday reached a landmark deal on a transition phase that will last for almost two years after the historic Brexit divorce next year, EU negotiator Michel Barnier said.

In terms of diplomacy and defense, Davis also stated that this agreement sets the stage for an "ambitious partnership" that "goes beyond the relationship the European Union has with any other third country". But while the transition was relatively easy to agree on, the most hard phase of negotiations still lies ahead.

In a sign of how negotiating future trade ties with what is still one of the bloc's three biggest economies will test the unity of the 27, member states are already pushing their own interests on some issues.

However, they will not come into force until after the transition ends, the document states.

"I don't think we're anywhere, there are no practical measures on the table that I can see, endless discussions about theoretical concepts, but not about what we are actually going to do on day one".

The chief executive of GlaxoSmithKline has welcomed the breakthrough in talks between the United Kingdom and EU27 countries on a transition or "implementation" period.

He also told Sky News the Government had only "kicked" the issue of avoiding a hard border in Northern Ireland "further down the road". They will be the subject of intense negotiation in the months leading up to the deadline for a final agreement in October.

A "significant step" has been made in Brexit negotiations after a breakthrough deal was reached on the transition period.

The latest draft agreement on the withdrawal of the UK from the EU was unveiled in Brussels
The latest draft agreement on the withdrawal of the UK from the EU was unveiled in Brussels

Don't expect the DUP to love this plan.

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar has rejected a suggestion that people and traders crossing the border would have to pre-register after Brexit, a proposal contained in Mr Karlsson's report.

"We have secured specific safeguards on behalf of British fishermen", said a spokesman for the prime minister.

It was not a 100 per cent "smart" open border, he said, but it was tested, operational and approved by European Union institutions and could be used as a base to work from.

True enough, but it doesn't appear that much has changed since December on the Northern Ireland question, and time is not May's friend in this case.

Some agreement has been reached on parts of the Commission's proposed protocol on Northern Ireland/Ireland, notably the Common Travel Area and North-South co-operation. The Conservatives have come across unprepared and unclear on a whole host of issues, from Northern Ireland to the Customs Union.

The legislation explicitly referred to as falling within these provisions comprise: the GDPR (with the exception of Chapter VII (Cooperation and Consistency)); the ePrivacy Directive (Directive 2002/58/EC); the Law Enforcement Directive (Directive (EU) 2016/680); and any other EU law governing the protection of personal data (the "Applicable Legislation"). "Inclusion is absolutely essential to avoid any doubt and I must be clear that it will apply unless and until a workable alternative agreed solution is found".

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