Britain, EU agree to terms on Brexit transition plan

European Union negotiator Michel Barnier (R) and British negotiator David Davis reached an agreement Tuesday to establish a 21-month transition plan for when Britain leaves the bloc next March. Photo by Oliver Hoslet/EPA

March 20 (UPI) — European Union and British negotiators reached an agreement Monday on a transition plan for when Britain leaves the bloc.

Michel Barnier of the EU and David Davis of Britain said the two sides reached a “decisive step” as they agreed on a 21-month transition plan set to begin on Brexit day in March 2019.

Under the deal, Britain will follow the EU’s rules and continue to trade freely in the bloc’s common market until the end of 2020. Britain will no longer be able to provide input on the EU’s rules and regulations, but will be able to negotiate and sign trade deals after the transition.

Britain also agreed that EU residents who move to Britain during the transition will maintain the same rights as those who moved before.

Under the agreement, Britain also will have the ability to opt out of EU foreign policy decisions, maintain access to fisheries and be able to opt in to new justice and security measures during the transition.

Both sides also pledged to act in “good faith” with a joint committee to oversee the agreement, including a promise that the EU won’t pass laws that would damage Britain during the transition period when it will have no vote.

The issue of potentially reinstating a border between Ireland and Northern Ireland, which are part of the EU and United Kingdom respectively, remained unresolved.

Barnier offered a reminder that “nothing is agreed until everything is agreed,” indicating a solution must be reached before a final Brexit deal is signed.

British Prime Minister Theresa May rejected a proposal that would establish a common economic area on the island of Ireland, which would leave Northern Ireland subject to some EU tax rules and regulations.

“No U.K. prime minister would ever agree to it,” she said.


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