The British government has reached a consensus over the need for Single Market access during the UK’s two-year transition period after leaving the EU (March 2019-March 2021).
Ahead of a visit in Berlin on Wednesday, Chancellor Philip Hammond and the Secretary for Leaving the European Union David Davis wrote a common letter to Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung making clear the UK will not be implementing new trade agreements and will abide by EU norms during that two-year period. During her Florence speech, Prime Minister Theresa May has already conceded that the UK will also continue to contribute to the EU budget.
The two ministers acknowledged the UK cannot enjoy the benefits of EU membership after leaving the EU, a position described in Germany as “cherry picking.”
The two-year transition period is intended to provide more room for negotiation for the future relationship between the UK and the EU, which the UK government contends will remain close, especially in matters of security. As for trade, the two ministers call for an “imaginative” and “inventive” approach to negotiations, seeking a “tailored” solution.
“Tailored” is a similar metaphor to “bespoke,” as the UK seeks a partnership that goes beyond existing policy frameworks to fit the unique circumstances of the UK. Over the last few months, Brexit Minister has been making reference to a Canadian-type deal that would include services – CETA plus – while in Brussels there is talk of a “Canada dry” agreement.