UK sees swift agreement on Brexit transition framework
Britain believes it can agree quickly with Brussels negotiators on a framework for a transitional agreement on exiting the European Union, Prime Minister Theresa May’s spokesman said on Oct. 24.
Britain is seeking a so-called implementation period of around two years following its departure from the EU in March 2019, during which its access to the EU single market would stay largely unchanged while new arrangements are put in place.
Businesses are keen to see the details of such a deal as soon as possible in order to minimize uncertainty over the trading rules they will face after Britain leaves the bloc.
“In terms of the broad outline of an implementation period, we believe that we can agree that quickly,” May’s spokesman said. He did not provide further detail on when Britain hoped to reach such agreement.
The comments come after May left some businesses confused on Oct. 23 by saying any implementation period would not be agreed until a deal was struck on Britain’s future relationship with the bloc. That could mean firms have to wait until the second half of 2018 to find out details of the interim deal.
Asked to clarify those comments yesterday, her spokesman said: “We’re clear that we want to achieve this implementation period, that we believe we can do so, and that our priority is to provide certainty for business.”
EU President Donald Tusk, meanwhile, said yesterday that the outcome of fraught Brexit talks was “up to London” and that abandoning the EU divorce remained an option for the UK.
Brussels has stressed that Britain needs to offer more detailed proposals, particularly on the thorny issue of its divorce bill, if it wants to move talks on to the next phase, on Britain’s future relationship with the bloc. Tusk told the European Parliament that the
European Union must stay united in talks or face “defeat.”
The EU will be able to rise to every scenario as long as we are not divided,” Tusk told MEPs in the eastern French city of Strasbourg. “It is in fact up to London how this will end: with a good deal, no deal or no Brexit,” he said, reiterating the controversial idea that the EU was open to Britain backtracking on its decision to leave the bloc.