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UK and EU strike Brexit transition deal

The UK has reached a joint legal agreement with the European Union on the legal terms of a Brexit transition deal, a ...

Posted: Mar 19, 2018 2:58 PM
Updated: Mar 19, 2018 2:58 PM

The UK has reached a joint legal agreement with the European Union on the legal terms of a Brexit transition deal, a milestone development in the tortured negotiations to extricate Britain from the bloc.

Under the terms, the UK will be able to negotiate trade deals with other countries during the 21-month transition, which begins when Britain officially leaves the EU at the end of March 2019.

But in order to secure the deal -- which gives a degree of certainty for businesses -- the UK was forced to make concessions, including on the rights of EU citizens who arrive during the transition period. London also had to accept a "backstop" deal to avoid a "hard" Irish border that would keep Northern Ireland subject to EU law.

Speaking at a news conference in Brussels on Monday, the EU's chief negotiator Michel Barnier said agreement on the draft legal text for withdrawal was a "decisive step" towards Brexit.

He said the text, to be presented to EU heads of government on Friday, will be "the international agreement for an ordered withdrawal of the UK from the EU."

The announcement came after "intense" negotiations between technical and legal experts from both sides over the past few days, Barnier said.

Speaking alongside the UK's Brexit Secretary David Davis, Barnier said: "What we are presenting today is a joint legal text, which to my mind constitutes a decisive step."

Davis added that "a good deal for the UK and the European Union is closer than ever before."

Trade deals

The provisional accord, which is not yet set in stone, includes the terms for a 21-month transition period after Brexit, which is scheduled to happen on March 29, 2019, to allow business to adjust.

In what could be seen as a big win for the UK, the draft agreement confirms that the UK may sign trade deals with other nations, as long as they don't come into force until the end of the transition period.

Sterling jumped against the euro on the news as the markets cheered the announcement.

Irish sticking point

One sticking point that could unravel the agreement is the issue of the border between the Republic of Ireland, which is, and will remain a part of the EU and Northern Ireland, which is part of the UK.

"We must have a workable and practical solution to avoid a hard border and protect north south cooperation," Barnier said.

Barnier said the UK has agreed in principle to the EU's "backstop" plan for the status of the Irish border, under which Northern Ireland would

remain part of the EU's customs union if there is no better idea to maintain the seamless flow of goods and people across the border.

The EU is concerned a "hard border" between Ireland and Northern Ireland, believing it could jeopardize the 1998 peace accord that ended decades of sectarian violence in the UK province.

"We agreed today that the backstop solution must form part of the legal text of the withdrawal agreement," Barnier said.

The remaining 27 EU countries insist that the must agree to terms on Northern Ireland before it will sign off on the final version of the divorce agreement and move on to future trade agreements between the UK and the EU, its largest trading partner.

Barnier will this week discuss the agreement with EU foreign ministers, the European Commission and on Friday, EU heads of government, apart from UK Prime MInister Theresa May who is not invited.

Mississippi Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 307519

Reported Deaths: 7096
CountyCasesDeaths
DeSoto20784248
Hinds19894408
Harrison17493302
Rankin13316275
Jackson13099243
Madison9896210
Lee9859169
Jones8293160
Forrest7523146
Lauderdale7189237
Lowndes6265144
Lamar610784
Lafayette6028117
Washington5280132
Bolivar4770129
Oktibbeha455297
Panola4442103
Pearl River4420139
Warren4281118
Marshall4273100
Pontotoc416472
Monroe4057132
Union403775
Neshoba3988176
Lincoln3871108
Hancock372185
Leflore3468124
Sunflower329389
Tate322781
Pike3181104
Scott310572
Yazoo304368
Alcorn297764
Itawamba296876
Copiah293065
Coahoma289677
Simpson287484
Tippah284868
Prentiss275659
Marion265979
Wayne261341
Leake261173
Grenada254982
Covington254580
Adams245982
Newton244859
George237847
Winston225981
Tishomingo222067
Jasper219748
Attala213373
Chickasaw204857
Holmes186471
Clay182454
Stone179131
Clarke176876
Tallahatchie175540
Calhoun163230
Yalobusha158836
Smith158634
Walthall130543
Greene129433
Lawrence126323
Noxubee125933
Montgomery125542
Perry125138
Carroll120826
Amite120141
Webster113432
Jefferson Davis105432
Tunica102525
Claiborne101330
Benton97225
Kemper95226
Humphreys94332
Franklin81923
Quitman78916
Choctaw72817
Jefferson64828
Wilkinson64727
Sharkey49617
Issaquena1686
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Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Cases: 519071

Reported Deaths: 10712
CountyCasesDeaths
Jefferson754131487
Mobile37774798
Madison33868494
Tuscaloosa25283443
Montgomery23969565
Shelby23112238
Baldwin20638300
Lee15524165
Calhoun14286311
Morgan14140268
Etowah13664345
Marshall11957219
Houston10383278
Elmore9994200
Limestone9814147
Cullman9475188
St. Clair9429234
Lauderdale9218227
DeKalb8747181
Talladega8060171
Walker7092275
Jackson6755110
Autauga6727103
Blount6488135
Colbert6205130
Coffee5401112
Dale4768110
Russell428938
Franklin419982
Chilton4083109
Covington4053114
Tallapoosa3893146
Escambia388074
Dallas3527149
Chambers3500122
Clarke346360
Marion3066100
Pike305875
Lawrence295395
Winston272372
Bibb256458
Marengo248661
Geneva245875
Pickens232959
Barbour224955
Hale218775
Butler212366
Fayette208960
Henry187844
Cherokee182044
Randolph176941
Monroe171540
Washington164038
Macon154848
Clay149454
Crenshaw149357
Cleburne146041
Lamar139334
Lowndes136453
Wilcox124327
Bullock121340
Conecuh109028
Perry107926
Sumter102932
Coosa99328
Greene90734
Choctaw58724
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