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18 November 2018

The Guardian: Brexit transition could be extended to 2022, says Barnier

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Europe’s chief Brexit negotiator, Michel Barnier, has raised the prospect of the UK remaining under EU control until the end of 2022, a proposal that would cost billions and infuriate Tory Brexiters.

At a special meeting with ambassadors from the EU’s 27 member states, Barnier floated the prospect of extending the Brexit transition until the end of 2022. His idea would allow an extra two years to negotiate a trading relationship, but means the UK would continue to follow EU rules and pay into its budget with no say for six and a half years after the 2016 vote to leave. [...]

Theresa May has previously suggested an extension of only a few months would be needed, but the EU is still waiting on the UK to make a formal proposal. [...]

European leaders have zero appetite to reopen talks, despite some unhappiness about the customs union being offered to the UK as an insurance plan to avoid a hard border on the island of Ireland. “While certain member states would certainly like to see more, they have to swallow it for now,” one diplomat said.

The ambassadors did not discuss the cost of a transition extension – the UK’s net contribution to the EU budget was £9.6bn in 2016, but would have been £14.5bn without the rebate. The EU has previously said the UK would no longer be entitled to the rebate after 2020.

At the meeting, Spain voiced unhappiness about the status of Gibraltar, but EU sources were not expecting Madrid to stand in the way of an agreement. Spain has publicly welcomed the deal on Gibraltar, but its minority government is under pressure from opposition parties over the status of the dependency. [...]

Full article on The Guardian



© The Guardian

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