After a weekend of intensive talks, Britain and EU have agreed to a “large part” of the 129-page draft treaty that will lead to the “orderly withdrawal” of the UK.
Both the UK and the EU hope the terms of an agreement on the transitional period can be signed off by PM Theresa May’s fellow leaders at the EU summit this week.
Commenting on the agreement, Dr Adam Marshall, Director General of the British Chambers of Commerce, said: “This is a milestone that many businesses across the UK have been waiting for. 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.
“While some companies would have liked to see copper-bottomed legal guarantees around the transition, the political agreement reached in Brussels is sufficient for most businesses to plan ahead with a greater degree of confidence. Many companies will now have the clarity they require to proceed with investment and hiring strategies that would otherwise have remained in question.
“In the interests of business across Europe, both sides must now do everything in their power to ensure that the transition does not become a political football later in the negotiation process.”
Earlier today, EU’s chief negotiator Michel Barnier told media with Brexit Secretary David Davis that none of this is legally binding until a whole treaty is ratified before Brexit a year from now. However, he described the agreements as a “decisive” moment for efforts to avoid Britain crashing out without a deal.