Barnier Responds To UK Olive Branch On Brexit

It what is likely to be seen in London as an astonishing display of arrogance, the EU’s chief negotiator Michel Barnier said on Monday “If the UK is asking for a transitional period, it is the UK asking, not us,” 

“If the idea is that during this period, the UK will still participate in the single market... then it is quite clear that all European regulations, enforcement, financial conditions, supervision, all of that has to be maintained during the period, without any exceptions,” he said. 

Theresa May’s “constructive spirit” won a cautious welcome from the European Union on Friday, although the British prime minister’s keynote Brexit speech raised more questions than answers for some, as Reuters has reported. 

Mrs. May has for the first time spelled out her request for a transition period of about two years after Brexit, during which Britain would stay in the EU’s single market. 

“The EU has to decide whether it will have a transitional period and whether it is in its interests,” Barnier said, noting that the request made it all the more necessary for Britain to reach a deal with the EU on its divorce terms first. 

The three areas in which there must be “sufficient progress” for the EU to start talks on a transition period, are citizens’ rights, a financial settlement and relations between Ireland and Northern Ireland. 

Heading for a meeting with British chief negotiator David Davis to start a fourth round of divorce negotiations, Barnier said he expected London to translate the proposals made by May in her speech into formal negotiating positions.

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Gary Cartwright

Gary Cartwright

Gary Cartwright is publishing editor of EU Today. 

An experienced journalist and published author, he specialises in environment, energy, and defence.

He also has more than 10 years experience of working as a staff member in the EU institutions, working with political groups and MEPs in various policy areas.

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