Top EU law­maker says Brexit de­lays raise need for tran­si­tion

Truro Daily News - - WORLD -

The Euro­pean Par­lia­ment’s top Brexit of­fi­cial said Wed­nes­day that the slow progress of the di­vorce pro­ceed­ings be­tween the Euro­pean Union and Bri­tain has en­sured that the prospect of a pro­longed tran­si­tion pe­riod is gain­ing trac­tion.

Over the sum­mer, there’s been grow­ing talk on both sides of the need for a tran­si­tion pe­riod after the March 2019 Brexit dead­line that will see Bri­tain more or less repli­cate its cur­rent ar­range­ments with the EU in or­der to avoid a so-called “cliff edge” sce­nario, whereby the coun­try crashes out of the bloc with no trade deal.

“There is now more and more recog­ni­tion of the need of such a tran­si­tion pe­riod,” the leg­is­la­ture’s Brexit co-or­di­na­tor Guy Ver­hof­s­tadt said.

He also noted that there is “a greater un­der­stand­ing from the U.K. side for the need for a tran­si­tional ar­range­ment.” In the past few weeks, se­nior mem­bers of the Bri­tish gov­ern­ment have voiced their sup­port for some sort of tran­si­tional ar­range­ments after Brexit whereby Bri­tain re­mains part of the Euro­pean sin­gle mar­ket and cus­toms union.

In Ver­hof­s­tadt’s view, Bri­tain would have to con­tinue to abide by EU rules dur­ing that tran­si­tion pe­riod which could take three years while a new re­la­tion­ship is built.

“The more and more time we lose in the com­ing months, the more and more it is clear that the tran­si­tion pe­riod can only be the pro­lon­ga­tion of the ex­ist­ing sit­u­a­tion,

the sta­tus quo,” Ver­hof­s­tadt told leg­is­la­tors.

Ver­hof­s­tadt made the re­marks to a par­lia­men­tary com­mit­tee, just streets away from where Bri­tish and EU of­fi­cials were ne­go­ti­at­ing in their third round of talks. So far there have been no ap­par­ent break­throughs, stok­ing talk of the need for a tran­si­tion pe­riod after the two-year Brexit process ends March 29, 2019.

Of­fi­cials on both sides have said the talks would cen­tre on tech­ni­cal issues and would not cre­ate any ma­jor break­throughs.

“There is slow progress in gen­eral,” Ver­hof­s­tadt said. Bri­tain has been seek­ing to re­buff crit­i­cism this week that it has been slow out of the blocks after trig­ger­ing the Brexit timetable.

Ver­hof­s­tadt was hop­ing to have the Euro­pean Par­lia­ment pro­duce a res­o­lu­tion in early Oc­to­ber to make clear its de­mands in light of the po­si­tion pa­pers al­ready pub­lished by Lon­don.

Euro­pean law­mak­ers will have to ap­prove any sep­a­ra­tion agree­ment at the end of the Brexit ne­go­ti­a­tions.

AP PHOTO

Euro­pean Par­lia­ment Brexit Co­or­di­na­tor Guy Ver­hof­s­tadt ad­dresses the Euro­pean Par­lia­ment Em­ploy­ment and So­cial Af­fairs Com­mit­tee at the Euro­pean Par­lia­ment in Brus­sels yes­ter­day.

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