8 December 2017

Update

Breakthrough on sufficient progress - a welcome step forward for businesses

The EU Commission and the UK have come to joint agreement on the critical Brexit issues of the Irish border, the financial settlement and citizens’ rights, making it almost certain that talks will move forward to Phase 2 on the future relationship.

Breakthrough on sufficient progress - a welcome step forward for businesses

Today’s breakthrough in Brussels shows that where there is a will, there is a way. After extensive calls for rapid advancement of talks by business, including by the CBI in the last week in the Times and the Sun, the EU Commission and the UK have come to joint agreement on the critical issues of the Irish border, the financial settlement and citizens’ rights. However, a final agreement cannot be secured until next week’s European Council meeting (14-15 Dec). Once a decision has been made of sufficient progress, talks will be able to advance in the new year onto trade and transition. This marks a much-anticipated moment for businesses who can now have more confidence that negotiators will reach a final deal.

At a joint press conference earlier this morning, prime minister, Theresa May, and European Commission president, Jean-Claude Juncker, applauded the great efforts that have been made on both sides to seek compromises and pave the way for discussions on future trade. This agreement was followed by acceptance of the recommendation for sufficient progress by European Council president, Donald Tusk, who published draft guidelines outlining initial European thoughts on the future trading relationship and transitional arrangements.

Read the CBI’s full analysis of the recommendation and draft guidelines for transition and the future

Discussions will continue to be tough over the months ahead, but businesses can now have greater confidence that the UK can get a good deal. The CBI will now continue to push for concrete assurances on transitional arrangements. The CBI will also continue to make the case for unequivocal welcome for EU citizens in the UK, as it has done with other business groups and the TUC this week, The devil is now in the detail and businesses up and down the country will be looking for action for the future.

For more information, insight and intelligence on the latest Brexit developments and its implications, visit the CBI’s Brexit hub, or contact EUNegotiations@cbi.org.uk.