British cabinet meeting today after reaching preliminary agreement

Brexit deal: Brits could remain in the customs union for longer

British and European negotiators have reached an agreement over Brexit. A cabinet meeting is planned for today at 14:00 GMT. Here, the British Prime Minister, Theresa May, will present the agreement to her cabinet.

Only one hurdle remains - the British Parliament has to agree on the wording. The agreement's text is not known, although a few details have been leaked by the British media. 

There is apparently a 'backstop' agreement; a kind of safety net in case the final agreement is not finalized on time. The UK will then be able to remain in the customs union for longer and border controls will not be necessary.

It is unclear whether there is a solution for the Northern Ireland issue. Neither party wants to derail the peace process in Ireland. Ireland wants a guarantee that there will not be a hard border between them and Northern Ireland.

Earlier, it came to light that the Brits paid EUR40 billion to the EU to enable Brexit to occur. The rights of EU citizens in the UK and British citizens in Europe will also remain virtually the same. Lastly, it seems an evaluation period is planned for July 2020. This is six months before the transition phase is set to end. Then, it must be decided if the UK is ready for the free trade agreement or whether the backstop must be implemented.

Cabinet members have been invited, individually, to 10 Downing Street 10 to read (parts of) the accord. Those backing a hard Brexit are calling on the British ministers to veto the deal. Boris Johnson calls the agreement one which will turn Britain into a puppet state.

Steps also have to be taken on the European side of the Channel. The EU ambassadors will be briefed after this afternoon's cabinet meeting. The EU-27's Foreign Ministers will then have to consider the proposal.

Finally, an EU Summit will have to be held. Here, the heads of government of the Member Countries will have to discuss the deal. In theory, this could happen at the end of November. That, however, seems a bit soon.

Follow the BBC and The Guardian live blogs about Brexit here.


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