Europe’s chief Brexit negotiator, Michel Barnier suggested during a November 19 briefing of the EU-27’s European Affairs ministers that the transition period for the UK to leave the bloc could be extended to 2022.
Barnier told journalists, the 27 EU affairs ministers are generally approving of the draft agreement reached last week had the broad approval from the ministers.
A final decision on when an extension of the status-quo transition period will end will be decided ahead of Sunday’s crucial extraordinary Brexit summit. Barnier chief said that the EU needs to work out “its internal process” for working out how a method for extending the transition.
A final date for the transition period will have to be agreed on by Brussels’ Joint Committee, which will determine how much the UK still has to pay into the new EU budget and the Multi-annual Financial Framework. Furthermore, the Dutch want a level playing field of commitments in terms of the Withdrawal Agreement which will eventually form the basis for the future relationship between the UK and EU. Barnier’s support for extending the transition period, which would keep the UK tied to the EU’s regulations and laws until 2022, would provide more time for trade talks between the EU and UK and delay the reestablishment of border checks on the Irish border.
France’s European Affairs Minister Nathalie Loiseau said that the EU is willing to be flexible on the time frame for the transition period, but that it must have a cut off date.