Britain wants to discuss length of Brexit transition with EU
Britain wants to discuss the length of any post-Brexit transition period with the European Union, but believes that around two years should be enough time to prepare “new processes” and “new systems”, according to a draft paper, APA reports quoting Reuters.
Prime Minister Theresa May hopes to seal a deal with the EU on a transition period in March this year, to offer companies some certainty a year before Britain is due to leave the bloc, and has repeatedly said it should not drag on indefinitely.
But EU officials say they doubt whether Britain will be ready to make a full break by Brussels’ proposed date of Dec. 31, 2020, and are preparing for a much longer goodbye, an idea anathema to hard Brexiteers.
In a draft paper responding to the EU’s guidelines for the transition period, May’s government said the timeframe “should be determined simply by how long it will take to prepare and implement the new processes and new systems that will underpin the future partnership”.
“The UK agrees this points to a period of around two years, but wishes to discuss with the EU the assessment that supports its proposed end date,” it said.
May’s spokesman said the statement did not mean Britain wanted to extend what May calls an ‘implementation phase’, but rather that the government wanted to question the EU’s position that the end of the transition should coincide with the end of the bloc’s current seven-year budget period.
“There is nothing remotely new,” he told reporters.
Britain still wants to agree a fixed date and hopes that can be approved by EU leaders at a summit on March 22-23.
Britain’s Brexit secretary David Davis told a parliamentary committee in January that “around two years” meant between 21 and 27 months. The EU proposal is for just 21.
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