One of Chancellor Angela Merkel’s closest allies in the EU-Brexit negotiations reported that if Britain needs more time to get ready to leave the bloc, then the transition period may take longer than initially expected.
Elmar Brok, a German Christian Democrat, says that the 21-month period originally agreed by the UK and EU is not carved in stone and both sides are on board for the smoothest transition possible. This was more or less made clear when UK Prime Minister Theresa May publicly admitted that Britain may not be ready for the implementation of its new customs by the agreed end-date.
Senior Cabinet Minister Mr. Brok stated that he wasn’t too keen to prolong negotiations but that he wouldn’t take a “principled position against” an extension, that Brussels insiders say Brexit representatives are trying for behind the curtain. Mr. Brok added that he believes “the transition period is just there to win time for such negotiations. Otherwise, you would not have the transition period, you would have automatically on the 29 March next year full Brexit, with no understandings and agreements, full tariffs and full tariff barriers. He added that “prolongation might be possible, but it should be very limited.”
He went on to say that he thinks it is “common interest because so long as the transition period is enforced, the United Kingdom must fulfill all the rights of the four freedoms, the financial support of the EU budget and the rulings of the European Court of Justice.” So, if Britain wants to prolong that, he would not have a principled position against it.
The Senior Member of the European Parliament, Elmar Brok, also one of the six steerers of Brexit negotiations, warned that the way talks were headed, the UK would ultimately receive a much bigger blow than the European Union – but until we cross that bridge, this month, at the European Council Summit a deal was approved namely during the “implementation period” not much would change for the UK and that until 2021, they have to continue following EU regulations and of course, keep free movement for all EU citizens. So, no worries, until 2021, you can still travel to the UK with your European ID.
Mr. Brock, addressing negotiations so far, said that he was pleasantly surprised to see that “the progress was much better” than he has initially expected” adding that the UK already has “the transition agreement in place as part of the withdrawal agreement.” But there’s more to take into account than the ‘smoothness’ of negotiations.
According to Brock, “Britain has to consider that Brexit is damage for everyone, but that because of the different size of the European Union and Britain, the damage is higher for Britain – because of the lack of market access and the lack of investments from other parts of the world. They lose the ‘gate’ function to the European market. They won’t make an investment anymore into England, they will make investments elsewhere.”
The European Union has been very shy in its statements regarding prolonging negotiations. When EU officials were asked they diverted saying that there should be an expiry date but that they would be “flexible” if additional time was necessary.
All in all, it looks like there is some progress being made and there is understanding on both sides but given the fact that nothing is really carved in stone, everything is up for grabs. After all, negotiations are just a verbal political power-game so with that in mind the real question is, will Britain manage to dominate negotiations, or will the EU have it its way?
Stay tuned as we follow Britain’s journey out of the European Union.
This article is for educational and informative purposes only and should not be considered as investment or trading advice.