The text of about fifteen pages lays the groundwork for the transitional period and the three priority files which are the rights of expatriate citizens, the Irish border and the bill of separation.
After long days and nights of negotiations, London and Brussels managed this Friday morning to make an agreement public . This, materialized by a document of about fifteen pages, concentrates above all on the outline of the method which will have to be followed.
And leaves to those who will be in charge of the second phase of negotiations, the task of agreeing and settling the practical terms of the announced divorce from London and the European Union.
Brexit: what to remember from the agreement
A transition “of about two years”
Le text on which the two parties have come to an agreement provides for a transition period which should last "about two years". During this period, the United Kingdom will remain in the customs union and in the single market and will remain subject to European legislation, but will no longer participate in decision-making within the European Union.
Also according to this text, the European Union says it is ready to engage in preliminary discussions on a future agreement with London. Intended to govern the future of trade relations between the United Kingdom and the Europe of 27, it can however only be finalized on the actual departure of the United Kingdom.
During his press conference, Michel Barnier, the Union's chief negotiator on Brexit, indicated that it will be negotiated on the model of the free trade agreement concluded with Canada.
“It is our British friends who indicate these red lines […] So it will be on this model that we will work”, explained Michel Barnier.
It also details the principles on three issues that were considered priorities: the rights of expatriate citizens, the management of the border between Ireland and the British province of Northern Ireland and the financial settlement of the separation.
The rights of European citizens ensured
Clarifications on the first of these files were expected by some 4 million people (including a million Britons living on the continent).
“Union citizens living in the United Kingdom and British citizens living in the EU27 will retain the same rights once the United Kingdom has left the EU” assures the agreement signed on Friday.
Europeans living in the UK will be able to "continue their lives as before", assured Theresa May.
No “hard” border in Ireland
La Irish question was particularly sensitive since it is on this point that the agreement which was about to be signed at the beginning of the week had stumbled.
In fact, the text finally provides for keeping the border between Ireland and Northern Ireland open. The two negotiators "recognize the need to respect" the 1998 Peace Agreement which put an end to thirty years of bloody clashes between nationalists and unionists in Northern Ireland. And which resulted in the disappearance of the border between Ireland and Northern Ireland.
“The UK remains committed to protecting North-South cooperation and avoiding a hard border,” the pre-agreement further explains.
A decision hailed as “a very good result for everyone on the island of Ireland” this Friday by Simon Coveney, the Irish Minister for Foreign Affairs.
London will have to settle the bill in euros
Last point of compromise between London and Brussels, the financial aspects of the divorce. On this point, the text is careful not to give details concerning the invoice what London will have to pay. Referring to the second phase of the negotiations “the practical arrangements for implementing the agreed methodology and the schedule of payments”.
Downing Street, for its part, told AFP that the bill was estimated at 40 to 45 billion euros at the current exchange rate. This amount is "fair", added a spokesman to Reuters.
This amount is close to the minimum amount required in March by Micher Barnier: 100 billion euros and the maximum figure put forward by Thérésa May: 60 billion euros. See article in the previous Newsletter
Result of the negotiations: 40 billion euros
Who flexed? Above all, do not ask the media because you will, with certainty, get the wrong answer.
In her press conference, Prime Minister Theresa May also stressed that the bill would be “fair” for British taxpayers.
For his part, Michel Barnier considered that it was not possible to give a precise figure. “We cannot calculate exactly the sums in question, all these figures will move, assured”, he declared.
Source: © Brexit: what the agreement between London and Brussels says