Transition rights confirmed in Brexit deal

Frederick Owens
March 20, 2018

"We look forward to seeing some more certainty around the shape of final Brexit terms, including proposals for avoiding a hard border between Northern Ireland and the Republic".

Separately, the agreement on the financial settlement will give certainty to those who run or benefit from European Union projects, Barnier insisted.

Both sides are committed to keeping a free flow of people and goods over the intra-Irish border without returning to checkpoints, as during the three decades of violence in Northern Ireland. It hit a post-Brexit vote high of $1.4346 in January.

That accord is now likely to be endorsed by leaders of the other 27 European Union member states at a summit on Friday, a day after they have met Ms May herself in Brussels.

A weekend of intensive talks, however, has broken the deadlock - for now.

When first proposed in February, Mrs May said "no United Kingdom prime minister could ever agree" to the proposal.

Needless to say, nothing is agreed until everything is agreed. 'But it remains our intention to achieve a partnership that is so close as to not require specific measures in relation to Northern Ireland.

"Transition must not be open-ended, but its end point will depend on how quickly the nature of our future trading relationship with the European Union is confirmed".

Business leaders echoed a warning from Barnier that the deal will only be legally binding if London ratifies the whole withdrawal treaty by March. But for insurers are reinsurers who need certainty to be able to continue offering their clients products and trading with partners within the European Union, a greater level of legal certainty is going to be needed before they radically alter their planning for a post-Brexit world.

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He said: "A decisive step remains a step, we are not at the end of the road and there is a lot of work still to be done on important subjects including Ireland and Northern Ireland".

In a Twitter post, the Irish foreign minister, Simon Coveney, said there would be "no backsliding" on the Irish border issue.

The FTSE is over 1.3% lower across Monday, trading at its lowest level in over a year and whilst resistance at 7060 is holding for the moment any further increases in sterling could see the FTSE target the psychological level at 7000.

Finally, and glaringly, Monday's press conference was a clear admission by David Davis, that, contrary to the assertion of many of his fellow-cabinet members and of the prime minister herself who have claimed in the past that these Brexit negotiations will end in a completed EU-UK trade deal, this will not be the case.

The agreement of a status quo transition period is great news for trading firms on both sides of the Channel, as it means that they will face little or no change in day-to-day business in the short term.

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

But James Stewart, Head of Brexit at KPMG said there is no legal certainty to key issues such as passporting, highlighting that the transition agreement has been just that, agreed, but not yet signed.

Concern was also expressed in Scotland where the fishing industry reacted angrily to the Brexit deal which will see Britain consulted on fish quotas and access to its waters until 2021.

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