Tuesday, 23 July, 2019

Britain 'must accept' all European Union laws during transition: Barnier

Theresa May visit to China Theresa May visit to China
Patty Aguilar | 30 January, 2018, 21:57

I have been told many times that the transition negotiations would be relatively straightforward and agreed by March - allowing plenty of time to scope out what the future relationship might look like. Here are the key hurdles that could upset the next two stages in negotiations.

European Union diplomats say the aim is to agree a swift deal on a transition period.

Brexit legislation will get its first debate in parliament's upper chamber this week, with peers from all sides reportedly considering rewriting the EU Withdrawal Bill.

"During that period these decisions will apply and the United Kingdom must acknowledge and accept these rules of the game from the outset", said Barnier, whose assertive and upbeat tone matched the bloc's newfound confidence heading into the next round of Brexit negotiations.

He said: "We will have to agree on a way of resolving concerns if laws are deemed to run contrary to our interests, and if we have not had our say. It's very, very important".

The plan - approved by European Union ministers in just two minutes - has sparked deep divisions in the British government, with eurosceptic lawmakers saying it leaves Britain a "vassal state" of Brussels.

The EU and Britain agreed last month to move Brexit talks onto trade and a transition pact but some of the EU's most powerful leaders have cautioned that the final year of divorce negotiations before Britain's exit could be fraught with peril.

"The EU position is very clear", French former foreign minister Barnier told a news conference in Brussels.

Publication of the letter late Friday followed a speech by Brexit Minister David Davis, in which he admitted there were "different views" within the government over Britain's departure from the bloc.

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However, member states attached a text to to the directives that opens the door to the possibility of prolonging the transition period, without mentioning it specifically.

"They would like to have continuity in their trade".

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe was a vocal opponent of the U.K.'s exit from the bloc and has repeatedly sought reassurance about its effects on Japanese companies operating in Britain, which include giant carmakers Nissan and Honda. The outcome of that would be a bigger "Brexit bill".

"Cross Whitehall Briefing", the report claims that irrespective of the deal clinched between London and Brussels, UK's economic growth will slow down outside the European Union. It however left room for "appropriate adaptation".

The UK will seek talks with other countries on free trade deals, though the Commission insists that these can not be signed until the transition period is over.

But UK will not have any say over these rules.

"Once again, I see a new sign of the strong and honest unity of the 27 member states in" agreeing on the directives, said Michel Barnier, the EU's chief Brexit negotiator. That is a sine qua non condition for progress in this second phase.

The subject is politically sensitive.

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