Brexit: WTF Is An Extended Transition Period?

18 October, 2018, 15:46 | Author: Wade Massey
  • Liam Fox suggested that by extending the transition period Britain could avoid the need to implement a backstop

Anthony Wells, director of political research for YouGov, told the Evening Standard: "The slow trend of public opinion moving against Brexit we've seen over the past year appears to be continuing".

With the talks stalled and little prospect of a quickening of pace, many Brexit supporters and critics of Britain's departure are airing their frustration over an exit which some campaigners had said would be an easy deal.

"We need much more time and we will continue to work in the next weeks, calmly and patiently", he added.

As EU leaders gathered yet again in Brussels yesterday, they conceded that hopes of a deal are again being pushed back, this time perhaps until December.

Ahead of Wednesday's crunch meeting, President of the European Council Donald Tusk said there was "no optimism" for a deal on the Irish border, with Mrs May sticking to her Chequers plan and the EU demanding more concessions.

Brussels diplomats pointed out that this meeting had been billed as a decisive meeting where a draft deal might be tabled and tentatively approved.

Dublin has signalled support for extending the UK's Brexit transition period in order to resolve Irish border issues.

Many in Brussels believe May has been hampered by the risk that she could lose key votes on the budget - and potentially then face a vote of no confidence - if the DUP believes she is about to sign up to a compromise on the Irish border they could not accept.

The UK leaves the European Union in March, and the current plan is for a transition period to finish at the end of 2020.

The end of transition had originally been fixed for December 2020 but it is now suggested that it could be pushed out by another year to the end of 2021. The EU says a time limit would defeat the point of the backstop.

Britain says it has not asked for an extension, but May has not yet come up with proposals for unblocking the border logjam.

One of the people said the International Trade Secretary Liam Fox was the most vocal in his openness to the idea of extending the transition.

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The so-called "backstop" will apply if there is no proper EU-UK trade deal post Brexit.

Forced to remain inside the union, the United Kingdom will have to pay tens of billions more into the EU budget and can not strike trade deals - seen as a major economic advantage of Brexit - and will be forced to follow many EU rules and laws, with no say in setting them.

But it has hit a wall of objection from radical Brexiteers and the Democratic Unionist Party, propping up Mrs May's minority government.

Many suspect that will not be enough time, which has led the European Union to demand a "backstop" to ensure there are no customs posts or other controls along the now invisible border between the UK's Northern Ireland and European Union member Ireland.

Irish officials signalled that a decision may follow today on whether a special November summit will be called.

Despite the lack of progress, the mood music at the summit was positive.

"My view is that we should really only have one if there is a objective to having one. We should not call a summit just to talk", the Taoiseach said.

Other delegations expressed a certain mannerly frustration with the UK's failure to advance the action.

"Today there will be no breakthrough", said Lithuanian President Dalia Grybauskaite.

Mrs May spoke for 15 minutes before leaving the summit, and leaving the rest of the leaders to discuss the impasse over Brexit.

President Trump has long said he wants a trade pact with Britain, and hailed Brexit as a "wonderful opportunity" for a "big and ambitious" UK-USA agreement in a joint statement with Mrs May in NY. "They do not know themselves what they really want".

The diplomats said that Barnier had revealed his offer to European Union ministers at a meeting in Luxembourg on Wednesday.

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