The UK and EU have agreed a “large part” of the agreement that will lead to the “orderly withdrawal” of the UK from the Union, it was announced this morning.
Brexit negotiators Michel Barnier and David Davis said they had agreed terms for a transition period.
They called it a “decisive step”, but there are still issues to be resolved, including the Northern Ireland border.
The transitional period is set to last from 29 March, 2019, to December 2020, and is intended to smooth the path to a future permanent relationship.
Mr Barnier said there was also an agreement on the rights of 4.5 million EU citizens in the UK and the 1.2 million UK citizens in the EU after Brexit.
It is hoped the agreement on the transitional period can be signed off by Theresa May and EU leaders at an EU summit this week.
Chris Hobson, Director of Policy at East Midlands Chamber*, said: “Along with the British Chambers of Commerce and many of our members, we have been calling for a transitional period so that we don’t suffer the potential consequences of an unruly exit.
“This agreement, if ratified, is a short-term fix but extends the timeframe during which a more comprehensive Brexit can be properly negotiated.
“This announcement shows that we can work with our EU counterparts for the mutual benefit of businesses and residents on both sides of the English Channel and we welcome the progress that is being made.”