United Kingdom meat industry reacts to Brexit transition agreement

Britain agreed to a potentially unpalatable deal to avoid a "hard border" for Northern Ireland on Monday to win agreement from the European Union that it would retain most EU benefits for almost two years after Brexit.

On the border between Northern Ireland and the Republic, Barnier said the two sides had agreed how the issue would be dealt with during the remaining negotiations.

Mr Barnier said that the two sides had agreed that the backstop solution must form part of the legal text of the withdrawal.

After an intense few days and nights of talks, Brexit secretary David Davis said agreement on the terms of the 21-month period, ending on 31 December 2020, was a "significant" moment, which would give businesses and citizens the reassurance they needed.

The UK has accepted that European Union citizens arriving in the country after Brexit will after all "obtain a new status of residence from the start of the transition period" that will follow Brexit itself in March 2019, Barnier explained.

Barnier said Britain must continue to respect EU laws and would continue to benefit from Europe's single market and customs union during the transition period.

Both sides wanted the transition deal in place so that it could be signed off by EU leaders at a Brussels summit on Friday, allowing the unlocking of talks on the future British-EU relationship in April.

It is also reported today that Ireland's Deputy Prime Minister Simon Coveney is en route to Brussels to meet Michel Barnier, and we would presume, David Davis.

Association of British Insurers Director General Huw Evans commented on the agreement, saying, "It is a relief to hear that the Government and the EC are recommending a transition deal is agreed at EU Council this week".

The UK will also be able to negotiate and sign trade deals during the transition period.

That means solving outstanding issues, notably how to avoid a 'hard border that could disrupt peace in Northern Ireland.

He revealed a color-coded draft legal text showing agreed and still-to-be-agreed parts but added that the both sides are committed to the principles agreed back in December past year.

The EU secured agreement that Britain would offer residence rights to EU citizens who arrive after Brexit but before 2021.

Calling the development as a "decisive step", Barnier said: "The transition will be of limited duration".

She had promised to give "full support" to a Tory MP who said they could torpedo the final Brexit deal by voting it down in Parliament unless Britain got full control over fish stocks and vessel access during the transition.

Sterling climbed to $1.41 against the dollar and reached 87 pence against the euro on news of the deal. Barnier confirmed that Gibraltar would not be covered by the transition deal unless Spain came to an agreement with the United Kingdom on the rock's future.

"This will be the biggest, most comprehensive, most effective trade deal ever", he said.

In an effort to progress what have been hard negotiations, the draft withdrawal agreement will be colour-coded: the colour green will apply to areas where agreement has been reached on negotiator level; yellow where objectives are agreed by negotiators but that are still being worked on; and white where an issue is proposed by the European Union and still under negotiation.

  • Rogelio Becker