Brexit Deal on Transitional Period: Irish border Remains Biggest Obstacle. After the official Brexit on 29 March 2019, there will be a transitional period of a tight two years. A large part of the departure from the EU is arranged, the negotiators announce today. Nevertheless, some major problems have not yet been resolved.
A final Brexit deal is not yet there, but clarity about the transition period is of great importance for business and citizens. The transition period lasts until 31 December 2020, in which Great Britain remains part of the internal market and EU citizens retain the same rights as now.
Due to the transitional period, relatively quiet work can be done on the new (trade) relationship, without creating chaos because all existing agreements suddenly no longer apply.
The duration of the transition period was one of the hottest issues in the negotiations at the moment. There is no agreement yet on another sensitive issue, such as the border between Northern Ireland and Ireland.
The British would like to prevent Northern Ireland from remaining part of the customs union because it would divide Britain. The British Prime Minister Theresa May was still angry at the beginning of March because it would, in fact, divide the United Kingdom.
The EU wants it to be so that trade between the EU (via Ireland) and Northern Ireland can continue unhindered, without import duties.
To get out of this impasse, a working group has been set up to discuss possible solutions. The British negotiator David Davis says the EU and the British agree that a legal solution must be found for the Northern Irish border that is ‘acceptable to both parties’.
The negotiation document shows that there is already a solution for Irish and British citizens: they can continue to travel freely anyway. That was already arranged in an old agreement between Ireland and Great Britain.
Britain will keep the benefits of the European internal market during the transitional period, reports Michel Barnier, the leader of the European negotiating team. This also means that there will be no customs controls between the UK and the European Union until the end of 2020.
During this period, Great Britain can also start working on new trade agreements with other countries, which is not allowed now as an EU member.
Rights of EU citizens
Furthermore, a deal has been reached about citizens moving to the UK from the EU or vice versa. For them, the same rules apply during the transitional period as before the Brexit.
At 21 months the period is ‘almost’ that Britain asked for, said David Davis. English Prime Minister Theresa May wanted a two-year transition period, she said in a speech at the end of November 2017.