Theresa May accused of Brexit climbdown as UK agrees to free movement in transition period
By Asa Bennett Brexit Commissioning Editor
David Davis and Michel Barnier used to disagree on so much that they would describe the latest round of negotiation in vastly different ways (e.g. “concrete” progress vs “no real progress”). But today, they both agreed that “a decisive step” had been taken by negotiators in hammering out the terms of Britain’s transition out of the European Union.
The EU’s chief Brexit negotiator showed off how much had been agreed between both sides by issuing a colour-coded draft of the Withdrawal Agreement (green meant agreed, yellow work in progress and uncoloured no agreement whatsoever). About 75% of the 129 pages were green.
Theresa May has had to make a few more concessions to make progress, such as allowing free movement to effectively continue for the 21 month transition period, and maintaining the Common Fisheries Policy in that time by allowing for the UK to be no more than “consulted” by Brussels over fishing arrangements until the end of 2020. For that, the Brexit Secretary was able to boast that the UK will be able to “step out, sign and ratify new trade deals” during the transition. But Monsieur Barnier reminded him that the UK will need to renegotiate over 700 treaties in that time. He will not be standing in the way of British negotiators, I point out online, so it paves the way for the UK Government to make good on its “Global Britain” vision.
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