EU, UK Finally Strike Brexit Deal
The European Union and the UK have reached a long overdue agreement on the draft text of their Brexit deal, as the latter is about to leave the former in less than five months.
After months of often deadlocked negotiations officials have agreed the document at the technical level this week, according to a source from the British Cabinet, as cited by the BBC.
UK Prime Minister Theresa May is thus going to seek the backing of her ministers over the agreed text of the Brexit deal at a meeting set for 2 pm GMT on Wednesday.
The Brexit deal is reported to contain a UK-wide customs “backstop” designed to prevent the introduction of physical checks on the border between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland.
It does not include any specific backstop for Northern Ireland only. The Irish border issue has proven to be toughest one to resolve in the recent months of Brexit talks between Brussels and London.
What the EU and the UK agreed upon is a 500-page document accompanied by a much shorter joint state on their future relationship. The details of the long-term trade arrangement between the two parties are yet to be hammered out.
The newly stricken Brexit deal also provides for a 21-month transition period after the UK’s departure from the Union, until 2021.
It further offers guarantees for the rights of EU citizens in Britain, and UK citizens in the EU, as well as details of the British payment of a divorce bill of EUR 45 billion (GBP 39 billion).
“[Cabinet ministers are meeting to] consider the draft agreement the negotiating teams have reached in Brussels, and to decide on next steps,” the UK Prime Minister’s Office said on the agreement of the Brexit deal.
The embattled Brexit agreement is expected to be a tough sell to part of May’s ruling Conservative Party as well as its coalition, the Democratic Unionist Party of Northern Ireland, including because of the leading Brexiteers’ opposition to keeping the UK locked into EU trade rules for a longer period after the actual Brexit date.
In their June 2016 referendum, a narrow majority of the British citizens voted in favor of Brexit (51.9% to 48.1%). The UK is set to leave the EU on March 29, 2019.
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