Brexit: EU gets it's way as UK's Michael Gove announces concession on trade deal ratification

In what may be perceived in Brussels as a sign of weakness, the British government has accepted an EU request for extra time to ratify the Brexit trade deal, after Brussels said it needed two more months to scrutinise it in 24 languages.

Cabinet Office Minister Michael Gove announced the decision Tuesday, saying a delay in ratification was not the U.K.’s “preferred outcome given the uncertainty it creates for individuals and businesses.”

In a letter to European Commission Vice-President Maroš Šefčovič, Gove said “extending the period of provisional application prolongs that uncertainty.” He added he hoped this would be enough and that no further extensions would be sought by the EU.

Under the terms of the treaty, both sides had to ratify the deal by February 28th, when its provisional application is due to expire. But the Commission said on February 10th that it would seek a “technical” two-month extension.

The Commission said extension to April 30th was necessary “to allow the time needed for the completion of the legal-linguistic revision of the Agreement in all 24 languages for its scrutiny by the European Parliament and the Council.”

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