EU agrees Brexit transition stance

European Union ministers have met in Brussels to finalise their negotiating position on the transitional period that will follow the UK’s departure from the bloc.

They propose it will run from Brexit in March 2019 to 31 December 2020.

Theresa May’s official spokesman said that while there was “broad agreement on the principle” there were differences on “specific detail”.

The UK hopes the two sides can reach agreement by March.

The transition period – also referred to as an implementation period – is seen as a way to minimise disruption when the UK leaves the EU for things like business, holidaymakers and security.

It will also allow more time to finalise the terms of the UK’s post-Brexit relations with the EU.

Some in the UK are unhappy at the idea that the UK will have to follow the rules of the single market and the customs union, including freedom of movement for EU citizens, but will lose its voting rights.

Mrs. May’s Brexit ”inner circle” of senior ministers met in sub-committee on Monday morning to discuss how the transitional phase could work, including the UK’s demand that it be free to negotiate trade deals with other countries during the period.

A Downing Street spokesman said: ”There is obviously going to be a negotiation on what the implementation period looks like.

”The formal directives will be released this afternoon. This will be a negotiation and there will naturally be some distance in the detail of our starting positions.”

EU chief negotiator Michel Barnier is to update the European Council later on the state of play in the negotiations before holding a press conference.


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