David Davis, secretary of state for exiting the EU, and Michel Barnier, EU chief negotiator for Brexit, said that the two sides have agreed on a “large part” of the transition agreement that will structure the “orderly withdrawal” of the UK from the EU.
The transition period will last from 29 March 2019 – the date the UK will officially cease to be an EU member state – until 31 December 2020. Both Davis and Barnier congratulated their respective negotiating teams for “having locked down entire chapters” on the issues of citizens’ rights and the financial settlement.
The deal confirms that EU citizens arriving in the UK during the transition will receive the same rights as those who arrived before the official date of exit. The UK will be able to sign free trade agreements during this period, provided they do not come into force until after December 2020.
On Northern Ireland, despite outstanding issues that still need final agreement, both sides have confirmed their commitment to the backstop solution involving regulatory convergence, agreed in December 2017.
The NFB looks at these developments as crucial for a successful and orderly exit from the EU that benefits small and medium-sized (SME) builders and regional contractors.
Richard Beresford, chief executive of the NFB, said: “Although the negotiations are far from over, the construction industry will be reassured by the progress made by the Government in securing a deal on the transition period.
“The NFB believes that the Government needs to continue working towards a good Brexit deal that will empower construction SMEs after 2020.”