United Kingdom: Brexit
UK and EU negotiations interrupted due to COVID-19
It was hoped that by now the UK and EU negotiators would have completed intensive negotiations to discuss Brexit and the next steps. Instead, the coronavirus pandemic has restricted both sides but discussions are still taking place.
As we know, the UK has entered a transition period. The UK will follow EU rules until 31 December 2020. The EU and the UK aim to have agreed a trade deal by this time.
Pressure on Boris Johnson to delay Brexit deadline
MEP’s are urging Prime Minister Boris Johnson to delay the Brexit deadline as countries around the world are focusing their efforts on the battle with the coronavirus.
A member of the European People’s Party has said, “I cannot see how the UK government would choose to expose itself to the double whammy of the coronavirus and the exit from the EU single market, which will inevitably add to the disruption, deal or no deal”. The European People’s Party also called on the UK to the “responsible thing” and seek an extension.
EU open to extension on transition period
The pandemic puts a huge amount of pressure on the chance of securing a trade deal by the planned date but right now, there are no plans to change the timeline.
The European Union have always been open to an extension of the transition period and the European People’s Party have urged the UK to consider an extension and the ball is now in the UK’s court.
No plans to make an extension on original date
It appears the UK are not planning to request an extension. A spokesperson for the Prime Minister said, “The transition period ends on December 31, 2020. This is enshrined in UK law”.
There is an option to extend the transition period for one or two years, if both sides agree by 1 July 2020. As pressure builds, it remains to be seen if the UK will do “the responsible thing” and seek an extension.