Finally, the European Commission has cleared the path for the second phase of Brexit talks – the trade issues, after it announced that “sufficient progress” has been made by Britain in Brexit talks which were enough for the talks to move on to the second phase of negotiations.
“We have now made the breakthrough we needed,” Commission president Jean-Claude Juncker told reporters at an early breakfast briefing. He also confirmed that “sufficient progress has now been made on the strict terms of the divorce”.
Negotiators will be able to begin drafting the final withdrawal agreement after an approval from the European Council of 27 remaining member states for the same is gained by UK Prime Minister Teresa May in a summit to be held from 14-15 December in Brussels.
The deal the rights of UK citizens in the EU would be guaranteed and the rights of about three million EU citizens living in the UK will be “enshrined in UK law and enforced by British courts”, May said describing that the deal was in “the best interests of the whole of the UK”.
A guarantee of the existence of “no hard border” between Northern Ireland and the Republic was included in the deal which preserved the “constitutional and economic integrity of the United Kingdom”, as well as a financial settlement that appeared to be “fair to the British taxpayer”, she said.
The DUP would now be able to support the new agreement after the making of six “substantive changes” this week. earlier, the proposed text for a deal with the EU by May was objected to by it.
“We have the very clear confirmation that the entirety of the United Kingdom is leaving the European union, leaving the single market, leaving the customs union,” DUP leader Arlene Foster said.
A spokesman for the Irish premier Leo Varadkar said: “We achieved all our goals in phase one of the negotiations, including preserving the CTA, protecting the GFA and, crucially, obtaining a guarantee that there will be no hard border.”
The transition period, that has been requested to be two years by the UK, would be the next issue for negotiations, European Council president Donald Tusk said after receiving the recommendation for further movement of the talks.
The agreement reaching was hailed by him but he warned: “The most difficult challenge is still ahead…We all know that breaking up is hard. But breaking up and building a new relation is much harder.”
Firms will principally cheer the shared promise to a changeover period to back business confidence and trade, said Adam Marshall, director general of the British Chambers of Commerce, he however said that in the new year, more details would need to be confirmed fast. This reflected to a mostly positive reaction to the development from the UK business community.
“The biggest priority for many firms since the EU referendum has been to get clarity and security for their European employees, whose contribution to business success across the UK is hugely valued. We are delighted that they, as well as UK citizens living and working in the EU, now have more clarity and can plan their future with greater confidence,” Marshall added referring to the question of the rights of citizens and the legal status of EU employees in UK firms.
(Adapted from Digitallook.com)