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EU and UK ‘agree Brexit plan’

[ November 13, 2018   //   ]

EU and UK ‘agree Brexit plan’
The UK and EU have reportedly agreed the draft text of a Brexit agreement, according to press reports. The document, which has been agreed at a technical level by officials, is due to be discussed at a special cabinet meeting at 2pm today (Wednesday).
The PM has meanwhile held one-to-one talks with ministers.
No details of the plan have yet been revealed but former foreign secretary and Brexiteer Boris Johnson suggested in an interview with the BBC that it would see the UK remain in the customs union and “large parts” of the single market.
According to reports, it includes a commitment to keep the UK aligned with the EU customs union for a limited time in order to avoid a hard border with the Irish republic – a move which however is likely to infuriate hard-line Brexiteers.
Commenting on the reports, the Freight Transport Association’s head of European policy, Pauline Bastidon, said that while the negotiators have apparently managed to reach an agreement for Brexit at technical level, “the road towards a ratified deal is still a long one, full of obstacles.”
She added that the European Commission’s Communication on contingency actions in the event of no deal published earlier on 13 November would therefore be crucial.
However, it “falls well short of the logistics sector’s expectations. Measures taken would only be temporary, ending at the latest at the end of 2019, and the European Commission could unilaterally revoke them at any time.
“The range of proposed measures is also completely insufficient. While basic provisions are suggested for aviation, the European Commission simply does not have a plan for road haulage. The Communication merely recognizes that there will not be enough ECMT permits to cover the needs of vehicles travelling between the UK and EU but offers no solution.
“The European Commission warns member states not to engage in bilateral discussions with the UK, but what is the alternative if no EU solution is to be expected?”
She said it was also disappointing, if predictable that no adaptations to customs and sanitary requirements will be made, even in the short term with very little said about the impact of checks on the traffic on both sides of the border. Even more concerning, the Communication seems to suggest that the UK might not be listed as an authorized third country for the export of agri-food products.

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