Commenting on the European Commission’s announcement this morning that it has recommended to the European Council to conclude that sufficient progress has been made in the first phase of the negotiations with the UK, Stephen Martin, Director General of the Institute of Directors, said:
"It went right down to the wire, but businesses will be breathing a huge sigh of relief that the UK and European Commission have reached agreement on phase 1 issues, putting us in a good position going into the Council meeting next week. It doesn’t mean the hard work has all been done, far from it, but it does mean we are now very close to discussing transitional arrangements and our future trading relationship with the EU.
“The most pressing concern for UK companies has been their EU staff, who have urgently needed certainty about their future in this country. We have grounds to hope now that our members will be able to send their employees off for the Christmas break feeling more comfortable about their status here.
"We call on the UK and EU to build on this positive momentum going into the new year. It is overwhelmingly in the interests of both sides to begin working on our future economic relationship - particularly in order to fully address the Irish question. And we look forward to further clarity about what the UK's objectives are for that new relationship as well as a firm commitment on transition in the very near future."