ABI: Brexit transition deal a relief

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The UK has accepted the need for a backstop to be written into the Brexit withdrawal agreement.

"A solution must be found for this. and Germany fully supports the Irish position", Merkel said.

Brexit Secretary Mr Davis said Monday's transition agreement, which is conditional on both sides agreeing a final withdrawal treaty, would smooth the path to a future permanent relationship.

Merkel met with Irish Prime Minister Leo Varadkar in Berlin a day after European Union and British negotiators said there had been no breakthrough on the Irish border issue, despite announcing progress on the outlines of a transition deal after Brexit day in a little more than a year's time. On the day of the announcement, 19 March, Sue Robinson, director of the National Franchised Dealers Association (NFDA) said: "The transitional period, from 29 March 2019 to December 2020, will provide businesses with a level of certainty that has been lacking".

Fellow MP John Lamont said the discussions with Mrs May "gave Scottish Conservative MPs the chance to put the concerns of fishing communities direct to the Prime Minister".

Should this not prove possible, she said she was committed to discussing "additional specific solutions" in parallel with the existing legal process for the UK's withdrawal. The UK government has to steer a hard course, as too many concessions risks angering pro-Brexit groups within its parliamentary party, while at the same time trying to satisfy business and economic needs for alignment and open trade with the EU. They could not leave legal uncertainty on the issue in the agreement text.

"We must seize the moment and carry on the momentum of the last few weeks", Mr Davis said.

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He continued: "I very much welcome Michael Gove's comments in Parliament that, after the transition, the UK Government will decide who can access our waters and on what terms".

"We will leave the European Union and leave the CFP (Common Fisheries Policy), but hand back sovereignty over our seas a few seconds later", he said.

Labor's shadow Brexit secretary Keir Starmer said the agreement was "a step in the right direction" but Scotland's First Minister Nicola Sturgeon tweeted that the agreement for fishing during the implementation period was "shaping up to be a massive sell-out of the Scottish fishing industry by the Tories". "Our fishing communities' fortunes will still be subject to the whim and largesse of the European Union for another two years".

"All they had to do was say no and as they acknowledged themselves, we would become an independent coastal state".

Varadkar stressed that a "backstop solution" under which Northern Ireland would remain part of the EU's tariff-free customs union while the rest of the United Kingdom leaves must "apply unless and until a workable alternative agreed solution is found".

However, there are still some sticking points - the question of the border between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland has not been resolved.

Britain leaves the European Union - the first country ever to do so - on March 29, 2019, but any Brexit deal must be sealed by October or November to leave sufficient time for parliaments to ratify it.

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