Brexit Transition Period Likely to be Limited to 20 Months, EU Officials say
The European Union is likely to offer Theresa May a transition period after Brexit of just 20 months, according to senior sources in Brussels, The Guardian reports.
In her speech in Florence the prime minister formally requested what she had described as an implementation period of “about two years” to cushion Britain’s exit from the EU in March 2019, during which the UK would stay in the single market and customs union.
The Irish government has publicly called for a longer period, of up to five years, to allow businesses to prepare for changes in customs procedures, a proposal that has the support of many in the UK.
However, senior EU officials believe the most likely outcome will involve any withdrawal agreement stipulating 31 December 2020 as the date when the country leaves the bloc’s legal structures.
No decisions have been made and the EU’s 27 remaining member states are yet to formally discuss the terms of a transition period, something they only agreed to do at the end of the last European council summit on Friday.
Earlier this week the EU’s chief negotiator, Michel Barnier, also appeared to suggest that such a schedule would suit the bloc. He told a group of European newspapers: “To my mind, it makes sense that it covers the financial period, so until 2020.”
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