A deal has been reached between the EU and the UK on key “phase one” Brexit issues, with agreement thrashed out on the rights of EU citizens, the divorce bill and the Northern Ireland/Ireland border.
In a 15-page joint report, EU and UK and negotiators outlined in principle what each side’s commitments will be under a full withdrawal agreement. The agreement frees the negotiators to progress to phase two talks dealing with trade.
Under the agreement, EU citizens will continue to enjoy freedom of movement until Brexit happens, and will have at least two years from the date of Brexit to apply for permanent residency.
They will also be allowed to bring close family members into the UK even after Brexit. EU nationals with permanent residence rights will be allowed to leave the UK for up to five years without losing their status.
No hard border will be erected between Ireland and Northern Ireland post-Brexit, and the European Court of Justice will continue to oversee the rights of EU citizens and their families based in the UK on or before the date of Brexit. This will continue to apply after Brexit for eight years.
Deal or no deal
The deal comes as the UK’s House of Lords European Union Committee publishes its report, Brexit: deal or no deal, which outlines the potential impact on the UK of leaving the EU without a deal, and examines the feasibility of a transition period immediately post-Brexit.
The report states that “no deal” would be both economically damaging and bring an abrupt end to cooperation between the UK and EU on issues such as counter-terrorism, police and security, and nuclear safeguards. It would also necessitate the imposition of controls at the Irish land border.
The Committee said the “overwhelming weight of evidence” suggests that completing all negotiations before March 2019 would be impossible, and thus enshrining the Article 50 deadline of 29 March 2019 in domestic law would “not be in the national interest”.
David Mundy, partner and parliamentary agent at Bircham Dyson Bell, said that all businesses should be considering and identifying whether Brexit will have particular impacts on their supply chains and logistics, workforce, customer base and asset base.
“Many multinationals and larger business are already taking steps to mitigate the potential effects of Brexit and look to seize opportunities created by it by relocating to, or creating new subsidiaries within, the EU,” he said.
“That will enable those businesses to continue to operate within the EU as they do now, and to ‘spread the risk’ as to the effects of Brexit both in the UK and the EU27.
“At the other end of the scale, businesses which operate on a purely local level probably correctly consider that the immediate day-to-day impact of Brexit (whether deal or no deal) will be minimal, and tied to the performance of the UK economy as a whole.”