'Good progress' toward Brexit transition deal with EU

Sophie Lionnet

The two will speak at a news conference called for 12:45 pm (1145 GMT).

"In the past few days, David Davis has said he can "live with" a transition period of under two years if it helps to secure an early deal".

Barnier said Britain must continue to respect EU laws and would continue to benefit from Europe's single market and customs union during the transition period.

However, it remained unclear whether Dublin was ready yet to give its blessing to European Union leaders offering London a full political commitment to the transition deal when they meet on Friday. Davis has predicted a deal on a transition period will be finalized next week.

Negotiators achieved a landmark deal this morning on transition agreements which will last for almost two years once the United Kingdom leaves Europe next year. "There is some progress on Ireland but it's not fully solved - there is agreement on the backstop but not all details". Barnier adds that European Union member states have indicated their solidarity with Spain's position.

"That we now have to wait until 2020 to assume full control is an undoubted disappointment", said Davidson, who leads May's party in Scotland. "Ireland will be discussed further, there is partial convergence of views".

Northern Ireland's deputy prime minister Simon Coveney said on Twitter hailed a "good meeting" with Michel Barnier on Monday and said there had been "progress" on the Irish border issue.

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Coveney's presence today confirms the Irish border remains a sticking point and our suspicion is that information provided on this issue will be the signal markets will be watching - confirmation that the Irish question is moving in the right direction could well stimulate the Pound.

Dublin is concerned at May's rejection of a "backstop" arrangement set out as a separate protocol in the EU's draft of the withdrawal treaty. "Risks to GBP point to near-term potential upside, particularly versus the Euro, in our view", says Pepper.

"While some companies would have liked to see copper-bottomed legal guarantees around the transition, the political agreement reached in Brussels is sufficient for most businesses to plan ahead with a greater degree of confidence", BCC director general Adam Marshall says in a statement.

On Friday, EU leaders are expected to approve the transition deal and pass it to the European Parliament for legal approval.

Britain has been hoping for an interim accord on the transition to ease fears among businesses before Prime Minister Theresa May meets fellow European Union leaders at a summit in Brussels on Thursday. However, London would need to assure its good faith on the border issue in order to get a transition.

Update 7.59am: Tánaiste Simon Coveney is expected to warn today the Brexit negotiations can not move on unless Britain signs off this week on the backstop deal to ensure there is no hard border when it leaves the EU.

Mr Rees-Mogg and fellow Conservatives Sir Christopher Chope, Andrea Jenkyns, Craig Mackinlay, and John Whittingdale, along with the DUP's Sammy Wilson refused to sign off the final version.

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