The EU Commission and the UK have reached an agreement on the critical Brexit issues relating to the Irish border, a financial settlement and citizens’ rights.
This came only days before the next scheduled European Council meeting (14th and 15th December) when it will be necessary to secure a final agreement to enable progression to the next stage of negotiations. Discussions on trade and transition can then commence in the new year.
The CBI called it “a welcome step forward for businesses” adding that “the breakthrough in Brussels shows that where there is a will, there is a way.”
Speaking about the next steps, the CBI said: “Discussions will continue to be tough over the months ahead, but businesses can now have greater confidence that the UK can get a good deal.
“The CBI will now continue to push for concrete assurances on transitional arrangements. The CBI will also continue to make the case for unequivocal welcome for EU citizens in the UK, as it has done with other business groups and the TUC this week. The devil is now in the detail and businesses up and down the country will be looking for action for the future.”
SMMT Chief Executive, Mike Hawes called the progress “a positive step”.
He went on to say: “Europe is by far our biggest trading partner and it is encouraging that both sides have found more to agree on than disagree… Talks on trade, of vital interest to UK Automotive, can finally begin and we look forward to further concrete progress on this major area early in 2018.
“Whilst there is some form of relief that both sides have agreed EU citizens already in the UK will have their rights to live, work and study protected, there is still no information about how access to talent from overseas will work in the future and we will require more detail soon. Business cannot afford to stand still and wait for answers, so urgent progress on the nature of our transitional agreement must be the top priority now.”