21 Mar 18
A draft Brexit transition deal – announced 19 March – will allow UK participation in all EU programmes until December 2020, the expected end to the transition period after the UK leaves the EU.
The draft agreement was outlined by Brexit Secretary David Davis and the EU’s chief Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier in a joint press conference held in the UK.
Horizon 2020 and the European Fund for Sustainable Development will be open to the UK, says the agreement, as well as full access to the EU single market and customs union during this period.
The UK will, however, lose decision-making capability within EU institutions after March 2019 – the date the UK’s membership expires.
The proposed document confirms that the UK will be allowed to make trade deals with non-EU countries during the transition, but that these agreements cannot be implemented until after this time.
‘The UK will be able to step out, sign and ratify new trade deals with old friends – and new allies – around the globe for the first time in more than 40 years,’ said Davis. ‘[It is] one of Brexit’s greatest opportunities.’
In exchange for this access, the UK will have to adhere to EU regulation until the end of 2020.
‘This is a milestone that many businesses across the U.K. have been waiting for,’ said Adam Marshall, Director General of the British Chambers of Commerce.
‘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,’ he said.
The document is said to be 75% complete but decisions on the border to Northern Ireland and data protection policies are yet to be made.
By Georgina Hines