LONDON – negotiator from the UK and the European Union has proposed a divorce agreement, which will be submitted to politicians on both sides for approval, officials in London and Brussels said Tuesday.
After a year and a half of deadlocked talks, false starts and setbacks, the negotiators agreed on a solution to the main outstanding issue: the Irish border.
British Prime Minister Theresa May's office said the Cabinet will hold a special session on Wednesday to consider the proposal. Their support is not guaranteed: May is under pressure from pro-Brexit ministers not to make any further concessions to the EU.
Ambassadors from the 27 other EU countries will also hold a meeting in Brussels on Wednesday.
May told Cabinet yesterday that divorce negotiations with the European Union still have a "small number" of issues to solve, while their deputy David Lidington said the two sides are "almost within reach" of a Brexit deal , 19659007] Great Britain wants to sign an agreement in the autumn so that Parliament can vote on it before the United Kingdom leaves the bloc on 29th March. The European Parliament must also approve any agreement.
The negotiators met late in the EU night in Brussels to fill in the remaining gaps.
The main obstacle has long been to ensure that there are no customs offices or other controls after Brexit along the border between Northern Ireland and the EU Member State Ireland. The national television station RTE said that the draft agreement provides for a common customs regime for the United Kingdom and the EU to eliminate the need for border controls.
But May is under pressure from members of the pro-Brexit cabinet to disagree with a binding agreement on Britain's EU trade rules for an indefinite period.
May also faces growing opposition from EU legislators who say their Brexit deal is worse than the status quo, and the British public should get a new vote on whether to leave or stay.
If agreement can not be reached soon, British companies must start implementing contingency plans for a no-deal Brexit – steps to reduce jobs, store goods and relocate production and services outside the UK could include.
Even with such a measure, the UK Government could exit without a deal from the EU, which could lead to significant economic disruption, with a jam in the ports and a disruption of food, commodity and pharmaceutical supplies.
On Tues So, the European Commission published a series of communications describing changes in a number of areas in the event of a no-deal brexit. They point to significant disruption to both people and businesses: British truck driving licenses are not valid in the EU, British airlines will no longer have traffic rights and even British mineral water will no longer be recognized as such by the EU.
The EU announced on Tuesday that it would be ready for all options, "Vice-President of the European Commission Frans Said Timmermans. In a deal he said, "We are not here yet."
Meanwhile, official figures suggest that Brexit is already affecting the British workforce.
The National Statistics Office stated the number of EU citizens who worked there The country – 2.25 million – was 132,000 lower in the three months to September than in the previous year. This is the largest annual decline since comparable records began in 1997.
Most of the decline is due to fewer workers from eight Eastern European countries joining the EU in 2004.
Jonathan Portes, Professor of Economics at King's College London, The Brexit Prospect said, "has clearly made Britain a much less attractive place for Europeans to live and work."
Raf Casert in Brussels contributed to this story.
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