EU, Britain reach Brexit transition deal ahead of EU summit

The Brexit transition deal agreed with the European Union needs to be endorsed by regulators so businesses are able to use the agreement to put on hold plans to move jobs and operations out of Britain, the City of London policy chief said.

Asked whether Britain had sold out, the spokesman said it was a negotiation that involved "give and take on both sides".

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

Negotiators from the European Union and Britain have hailed major progress in the Brexit talks, but conceded there had been no breakthrough on keeping open the Irish border.

Mr Barnier said: "What we are presenting to you today, here with David Davis, is a legal text".

The party said the government and European Union have already committed to having both "no hard border" on the island of Ireland, or any "borders or barriers to trade within the UK".

They add that the text agreed this week remains vague as to whether Britons overseas in the EU will retain full "onward" free movement rights after Brexit, as campaigners and the European Parliament have asked for, or if their rights to live and work will be restricted to the countries where they now live.

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.

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After an "intensive" weekend of talks in Brussels, Barnier said the two sides were "in agreement on a large part" of the divorce treaty governing the terms of Britain's departure after four decades of membership.

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

"Nothing is agreed until everything is agreed", Barnier said. Among other issues, it would set out how the two sides intend to avoid a hard border in Ireland.

He added that Britain would now allow European Union citizens moving to Britain during the transition phase to have the same rights to work and live in the country as those who arrived before, a policy London previously rejected.

The UK has agreed that the EU's "backstop" option Northern Ireland to remain in the EU's customs territory should remain in the draft legal withdrawal text, despite UK Prime Minister Theresa May rejecting it.

The EU is concerned a "hard border" between Ireland and Northern Ireland, believing it could jeopardize the 1998 peace accord that ended decades of sectarian violence in the United Kingdom province.

The idea was also deemed "unacceptable" by the pro-British party in Northern Ireland that props up her government.

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