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22 January 2018

The Independent: Brexit: UK has already 'agreed in principle' with EU to Norway-style transition

The UK has already “agreed in principle” to a Norway-style Brexit transition period in which it accepts all EU rules with no power to shape them, a senior figure in Brussels said.

A key member of the European Parliament’s Brexit team said British negotiators raised no objections to the plans, which would mean accepting free movement and customs union rules, and falling under the European Court’s jurisdiction.

The suggestion that Theresa May’s team has all but swallowed the transition proposal from Brussels will anger Conservative MPs, who believe it leaves Britain a “vassal state” for some two years after Brexit.

Data from a survey of Tory MPs on Monday suggested three-quarters oppose a transition in which free movement for EU citizens continues.

A government source said that while Ms May has set out a desire to achieve a transition or “implementation” period on “current terms”, exactly how it will work has not been decided.

Belgian MEP Philippe Lamberts said that the UK is going along with proposals that mean after Brexit in March 2019, Britain will continue as a member of the EU in “all but name” until at least December 2020.

During that period, the UK would have full access to the single market, adhere to free movement rules and those of the customs union and follow edicts from the European Court of Justice.

The UK would also continue to pay into the EU budget, but will not have any voting rights or a seat at the European Council – a situation akin to Norway’s current relationship with the EU.

Mr Lamberts, who sits on the cross-party Brexit steering group, said discussions about the transition deal had taken place and at no point in meetings he was in had British Government officials disputed proposals for the Norway-style transition.

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© The Independent

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